Police at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe have seized 120 kg of illegal ivory which was reportedly being smuggled to China.
Police Spokesperson at the airport, Peter Botha, confirmed the interception of the stuff but was quick to mention that no arrests have been made yet.
The police publicist said the ivory, worth more than K1.5 billion was seized from an Ethiopian Airlines flight which was coming from Addis Ababa.
“There are no arrests because at the time of seizure the owner had not yet been identified but it was destined for China,” Botha said adding that the matter was still being investigated.
No details of how the ivory was detected were provided by police.
According to reports, China’s economic boom has fuelled the contraband ivory trade as carved products made from the material are highly prized.
For instance, last year 1kg of ivory was reportedly fetching about K1.3 million on black market which translates that the seized 120kg would make about realize about K1.6 billion.
The illegal trade in ivory results in the deaths of up to 50,000 elephants every year mostly in West and East Africa, according to estimations from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).