Illegal Ivory worth millions seized in Kenya

A Kenya Wild-life Services (KWS) officer burning a pile of Ivory husks

A Kenya Wild-life Services (KWS) officer burning a pile of Ivory husks

Authorities in Kenya on Tuesday night seized Ivory worth Kshs 6.4 million at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), in the capital Nairobi.

Customs officials at the airport said the shipment is suspected to have originated from Mozambique heading to Bangkok, Thailand.

According to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Director of Criminal Investigations Joseph Ngisa, police have since launched investigations in a bid to trace the criminals behind the banned trade.

“We have launched investigations to establish the origin of this consignment,” Ngisa said. The seizure by the Kenya Airports Police Unit comes at a time when the government is planning to destroy a huge stockpile of ivory in the capital Nairobi.

In January this year, State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu announced that the move is in line with the government’s strong stance against poaching.

“This will act as proof of our commitment as a country to zero tolerance for poaching and illegal ivory trade,” Esipisu said.

Kenya plans to torch at least 120 tons of ivory on April 30, the largest stockpile ever destroyed by any country. The number of people arrested for having ivory continues to rise despite the tough penalties against poachers. Asian countries have been marked globally as the main importers of banned wildlife products. Game trophies and other products from ivory and rhino horns are used for making jewelry and medicine.

Wildlife experts on the ground in Kenya are reporting a disturbing increase in elephant killings that coincides with the arrival of Chinese workers for massive road projects. Most of the elephants have been killed in close proximity to where the Chinese are working.