Kenya seizes ivory as elephant slaughter surges

October 9, 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: Kenyan officials impound two tonnes of ivory: police

Related Stories

Kenyan officials seize 1.5 tonnes of hidden ivory

July 3, 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

October 3, 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

Genomes uncover life's early history

August 24, 2015

A University of Manchester scientist is part of a team which has carried out one of the biggest ever analyses of genomes on life of all forms.

Rare nautilus sighted for the first time in three decades

August 25, 2015

In early August, biologist Peter Ward returned from the South Pacific with news that he encountered an old friend, one he hadn't seen in over three decades. The University of Washington professor had seen what he considers ...

Why a mutant rice called Big Grain1 yields such big grains

August 24, 2015

(Phys.org)—Rice is one of the most important staple crops grown by humans—very possibly the most important in history. With 4.3 billion inhabitants, Asia is home to 60 percent of the world's population, so it's unsurprising ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.