COLOMBO // Sri Lankan authorities have seized 1.5 tonnes of African ivory marked as plastic waste and addressed to a buyer in Dubai, a customs official in Colombo said today.
The container carrying 359 pieces of ivory had originated from Kenya and was going through the main sea port of Colombo when customs agents detected it following a tip, the Sri Lankan customs director Udayanath Liyanage said.
"We have confiscated the ivory under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) regulations," Mr Liyanage told AFP. "The shipper has also given a wrong description of the cargo and violated customs laws."
He said Sri Lankan officials had informed the authorities in the UAE and Kenya to take action against the shipper and the consignee after the discovery, which was made on Tuesday.
The illegal trade in ivory from African elephants is driven by Asian and Middle Eastern demand for the tusks used in ornaments.