Illegal ivory seizure

Department of the Environment

Media release
21 February 2014

Federal environment investigators yesterday seized illegal ivory products with an estimated value of up to $80,000.

Following several months of investigation, officers from the federal Department of the Environment, with the assistance of NSW Police, executed warrants at two locations in inner Sydney where they found a large number of illegal carved ivory ornaments and jewellery.

As a result, two people are being further investigated for offences under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Illegal wildlife trade is valued in the billions of dollars globally. Wildlife trafficking is a crime that is driving the decline of many endangered species-such as elephants and rhinos-and one that Interpol has identified to be a lucrative business for criminal groups.

The global reach of wildlife trafficking makes it difficult for governments to tackle on their own. This operation is a good example of government and environment organisations working together to stop this criminal trade.

The seizure is the result of intelligence provided by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) Oceania to track the illegal trade of wildlife products on online trading sites.

Acting on information supplied by IFAW, officers from the Department examined the activities of a Sydney-based online trading company.

This successful operation was made possible by the close cooperation between IFAW and the Department, as well as the operational support provided by the Australian Taxation Office and NSW Police.

The maximum penalty for wildlife trade offences is 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $170 000 for individuals and up to $850 000 for corporations. 

Information about trade in illegal wildlife or wildlife products can be provided to the Department of the Environment on 02 6274 1900 or wildlifetrade.compliance@environment.gov.au.

More information on wildlife trade can be found on the Department’s website: www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/wildlife-trade/index.html