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CITES appeals to countries to watch out for trafficked Malagasy rosewood

07 / 10 / 2019, Mongabaycom News

International wildlife trade regulators have issued an advisory drawing attention to $50 million worth of Malagasy rosewood logs seized in 2014 in Singapore that could potentially end up in the black market again. A Singapore court ordered the precious wood to be released from custody this April after it acquitted the trader who shipped it into the country. The advisory from the secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), issued Sept. 26, calls on signatories to the treaty, which includes almost all nations, to be on the alert and take action if the contraband finds its way to their shores. The call came in the wake of discussions about the status of illegal rosewood originating from Madagascar at the convention’s 18th Conference of Parties in Geneva this past August. In 2013 CITES banned the export of Malagasy rosewood (genus Dalbergia) and ebony (genus Diospyros), but the ban has been difficult to enforce. Madagascar entered a period of political instability following a coup in 2009, when the state of law-and-order deteriorated dramatically. Illegal logging of rosewood was widespread, including inside national parks, and timber barons stockpiled the precious wood. In 2010, the country banned the export of rosewood, which is highly prized in countries like China, where it is used to manufacture high-end furniture. However, old and freshly cut logs alike continue to enter the illegal market. Coordination among countries through which the rosewood is channeled to its final destination is weak.…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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