The Department of Plants and Wildlife (DPAW) and the Western Australian Police have made a huge seizure of illegally harvested Western Australian sandalwood. They valued the seized 200 tonne of sandalwood at $1.5 million. A 52 year old Baldivis man has been charged on 5 counts of receiving stolen goods with more enquires are continuing.
This is great news for the sustainability of the Western Australian sandalwood industry which is over 160 years old. When the first exports left Western Australia in 1843 on the SS Champion it was well received by the market and they called it New Mountain sandalwood. It was different to the Old Mountain sandalwood from India and better suited for the burning of joss sticks. New Mountain Merchants is named after this historical trade and is recognised throughout Asia for the connection.
Government authorities should be congratulated on their hard work breaking into the criminal syndicate activity. Illegal harvesting of sandalwood is a very important issue and is unfortunately becoming a serious concern.