Pelikan probed for using endangered woods

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8 Jun, 2009 Updated Mon 8 Jun 2009 15:15 CEST
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The German Customs Investigation Bureau (ZKA) has Pelikan, a writing utensil maker, in its sights for using protected rainforest wood Ramin for paint brush handles, broadcaster ARD reported on Monday.

Pelikan confirmed reports from ARD’s show Report Mainz that said the Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries had discovered the company had been using the Southeast Asian white hardwood.

Importing the wood without permission is illegal, and the customs officials have begun an official investigation some nine weeks ago, the show reported.

Pelikan told the programme that the wood comes “exclusively from Malaysia” and has been accompanied by certificates that makes their use of the hardwood, also sometimes known as Gonystylus, “unproblematic and without hesitation.”

But Professor Dietrich Jelden from the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) told Report Mainz that Pelikan had made a “false statement.”

“It is actually not defensible to offer such products that come from endangered supplies when there is no proven sustained regeneration,” he said.

A second statement to the programme from Pelikan said they failed to get the proper permission for the importation, but was attempting to do so retroactively.

The show also reported that the BfN and other European authorities are investigating other cases involving the illegal import of Ramin worth some six figures.

According to Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries wood expert Gerald Koch, “More tropical woods are coming onto the market, which is connected to the further development of production in the tropical countries.”

But Johannes Zahnen from the World Wildlife Federation said German companies know better. “They also carry the responsibility for the destruction of these forests,” he told the show.

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2009/06/08 15:15

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