Kenya seizes ivory as elephant slaughter surges

Oct 09, 2013
A Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Ranger numbers a confiscated ivory consignment at the Mombasa Port on October 8, 2013

Kenyan customs officers have seized almost four tonnes of elephant ivory in two separate shipments, officials said Wednesday, amid a surge in poaching of the threatened animals.

One haul of ivory weighing some 1,900 kilogrammes (4,200 pounds) was discovered Friday at the Indian Ocean port city of Mombasa, hidden under bags of sesame seeds, said Kenya Revenue Authority official Fatma Yusuf.

On Tuesday, a further two tonnes (4,400 pounds) of ivory was discovered in another container disguised in a similar manner, with both shipments bound for Turkey.

The seizures are the latest of several giant hauls discovered, representing the massacre of scores—if not hundreds—of elephants.

In addition, over 500 kilogrammes (1,100 pounds) of pangolin scales—meaning potentially dozens of the threatened scaly anteaters were hunted—for use in and as fashion accessories in Asia.

As in other parts of Africa, poaching of elephants—as well as rhinos and other animals—has risen sharply in Kenya in recent years. Whole herds of elephants have been massacred for their ivory.

In July, over four tonnes were seized in two shipments, one hidden beneath peanuts and the other mixed in with stinking dried fish, with both destined for Malaysia.

Kenya Wildlife Service director Arthur Tudor said searches at the port were being increased in a bid to stop smugglers.

We want to ensure that our port is not used as a transit point of ivory," he said.

"We have to step up the war on poachers to completely wipe out the ... it is threatening elephant populations in the country and entire region."

Ivory trade is banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Africa is now home to an estimated 472,000 , whose survival is threatened by poaching as well as population expansion and increasing urbanisation encroaching on natural habitats.

The illegal trade, estimated to be worth up to $10 billion (seven billion euros) a year, is mostly fuelled by demand in Asia and the Middle East.

Elephant tusks are used to make ornaments and rhinoceros horns are used in traditional medicine.

Explore further: Hong Kong seizes elephant tusks worth $1 million

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Kenyan officials seize 1.5 tonnes of hidden ivory

Jul 03, 2013

Officials in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa seized almost one and a half tonnes of ivory hacked out of poached elephants, they said Wednesday, the latest in a series of seizures by Kenyan authorities.

Hong Kong seizes elephant tusks worth $1 million

Oct 03, 2013

Elephant tusks worth more than $1 million were seized by Hong Kong customs after being discovered hidden under bags of soya in shipments from West Africa, officials said Thursday.

Recommended for you

Dwindling wind may tip predator-prey balance

17 hours ago

Bent and tossed by the wind, a field of soybean plants presents a challenge for an Asian lady beetle on the hunt for aphids. But what if the air—and the soybeans—were still?

Asian stars enlisted to fight African rhino poaching

Sep 19, 2014

Increasingly desperate South African conversationists are turning to a multi-national team of "rhino ambassadors" to try to end the scourge of poaching—and Vietnamese pop diva Hong Nhung has been recruited ...

Tropical fish a threat to Mediterranean Sea ecosystems

Sep 18, 2014

The tropical rabbitfish which have devastated algal forests in the eastern Mediterranean Sea pose a major threat to the entire Mediterranean basin if their distribution continues to expand as the climate ...

User comments : 0