Vietnamese authorities at Cat Lai port in Ho Chi Minh City have seized 529 kilograms (1,164 pounds) of ivory smuggled in three hollowed-out blocks of timber from Nigeria.
The haul adds to a further six tons of ivory and the seventh seizure at Cat Lai port in the last two months. It comes after officials from more than 40 countries gathered in Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, to call for stepped-up efforts to fight illegal wildlife trade.
X-ray machines are currently being used to stop the smuggling but arrests are uncommon because ivory is usually shipped unaccompanied between fictitious addresses.
Le Dinh Loi, Deputy Customs Chief in southern Ho Chi Minh City, said the ivory seized at Cat Lai port had been packed with wax and sealed inside emptied-out timber.
Vietnam is one of the world's major transit points and consumers of ivory and rhino horn. At a public hearing last month in The Hague in the Netherlands, an independent panel of legal experts concluded that the Vietnamese government was not fulfilling its duty to stop wildlife trafficking networks at its borders and was failing to comply with its international obligations.