More than 100 tigers, 1,000 rhinos, 20,000 elephants, and 200,000 pangolins are lost to illegal wildlife trade every year. With Southeast Asia being an epicenter for poaching hotspots, transit points and consumer markets, Singapore’s strong connectivity makes it a potential route for trafficking syndicates to move their products.
For years, Singapore has intercepted countless illegal shipments of endangered wildlife. But consumer demand keeps the tap flowing, and we need to stop it at the root.
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It was legal to buy and sell ivory products publicly in Singapore.
CITES established a ban on international commercial trade in ivory.
However, Singapore still allowed the sale of ivory products domestically if the ivory was imported before 1990.
An undercover investigation by WWF found over 40 physical shops selling ivory in Singapore.
On 31 July 2018, WWF-Singapore launched Ivory Lane, a fictional brand “selling” modern vintage ivory accessories to highlight the loophole: no approval or licenses were needed—all it required was to claim that the ivory products were sourced from old stocks prior to 1990.
Within six days, Ivory Lane sparked off a heated public debate on wildlife trade, national legislation and enforcement in Singapore.
A public consultation through REACH revealed that 99% of people in Singapore supported a total ban on ivory.
Singapore’s ivory ban was announced by the authorities on World Elephant Day, 12 August. A big win.
WWF launched the Cyber Spotters Programme, and 464 wildlife listings were accurately flagged during the first 2 weeks of the programme.
Singapore’s ivory ban comes into effect on 1 September 2021. Traders will no longer be able to display, buy or sell ivory in Singapore—including vintage ivory dated before 1990, making it the world’s strictest ivory ban in scope and implementation to date.
… And many more.
Join us now for more successes to come!
Do you know what other animals are victims of illegal wildlife trafficking? Take a short quiz to see how good you are at distinguishing illegal wildlife products!
Almost 20,000 African elephants are killed each year for their ivory—that's an average of 55 a day!
Poachers are often armed with weapons, making them dangerous for the anti-poaching teams who put their lives on the line to protect elephants.
Photo credit © James Aldred
Pangolins are believed to be the world's most trafficked mammal, accounting for one-fifth of all illegal wildlife trade. Over a million are estimated to be killed in the last decade.
They are frequently declared as food or other products during customs clearance!
Photo credit: ©Roland Seitre
Between 1999 and 2015, 17% of global seizures were of corals.
Corals are home to many marine species, and coral mining is damaging in several ways. It causes loss in fisheries significance, seaside security, and the tourism industry in the area. More than half of the jobs in marine tourism depend on a healthy ocean and corals to continue a successful tourist attraction.
Photo Credit©Tom Vierus
Of all the marine turtles, hawksbill turtles are the most sought after for their shells—they are now listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List.
Despite international laws prohibiting the take and trade of hawksbill turtles from 1994, millions of hawksbill turtles are still illegally exploited for the tortoiseshell markets of Europe, the US and Asia in the last century.
Photo Credit © Antonio Busiello
They are often poached for exotic decorations and “medicinal” products that are not scientifically proven. A particular example is the tiger wine. In the process, the tiger skin and muscles are peeled off, and the bones and claws are crushed to make the wine.
Photo Credit © Edwin Giesbers
In 2019, Immigration & Checkpoint Authority caught a smuggling attempt at Woodlands checkpoint involving 15 containers of 815 birds hidden in modified compartments of a bus.
Unfortunately, only 600 of the birds survived and are currently being cared for and quarantined at NParks’ facilities.
Photo Credit © Ola Jennersten
Wildlife trafficking is shown by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be linked to the spread of diseases from wildlife to humans.
Donate or volunteer online to help us stop this trade.
The ivory ban is just one part of the fight against illegal wildlife trade.
However, it does not stop here as illegal wildlife trade continues to flourish globally and elephants are not the sole victims of wildlife trafficking.
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