9 October 2013

Kenya: More Ivory Seized At Mombasa Port

Nairobi — The ivory was part of a consignment that was intercepted on Friday last week loaded into two 40 feet containers at the port awaiting shipment to Turkey. KRA Southern Region Senior Assistant Commissioner Fatma Yusuf says the two containers were subjected to a thorough verification which led to the recovery of the ivory.

"The declaration documents were giving contradicting information; they had registered the container to be 20 feet instead of 40 feet," she said. She explained the 686 pieces of ivory weighed 1.9 tonnes which was disguised in 250 bags of sesame seeds had been recovered in the first container on Friday (October 4).

Five hundred and thirty four kilos of Pangolin scales for the species only found in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia were also discovered in the container. Customs officials on Tuesday also recovered more 1,000 pieces of ivory weighing two tonnes also disguised in bags of sesame seeds.

The containers had arrived into the country from Uganda by rail and were destined for Turkey. Kenya Wildlife Service director Arthur Tudor says DNA analysis will be conducted to determine the origin of the ivory. "Clearly, what we can confirm is that they came through Malaba border; meaning that they were packaged somewhere else not in Kenya," he noted.

"To determine where the pieces of ivory could have come from, we cannot say until we carry out a DNA analysis to determine which population of elephant it belongs to is done." In a bid to stop the trade, he said KWS in partnership with other key stakeholders has setup all round surveillance at all entry points.

"We want to ensure that our port is not used as a transit point of ivory," he said. "These are results of concerted efforts between different stakeholders including police, KRA, KPA to ensure that the port of Mombasa is not used as transit port, we are determined to break the cartels."

"We have step up the war on poachers to completely wipe ivory trade and poaching menace in the country that is threatening elephant population in the country and entire region." He said those behind the trade continue to advance the tactics of smuggling the ivory to avoid detection at the port. KWS said this was the third largest consignment to be seized this year at the port of Mombasa.

The government continues to enhance its fight against poaching which has threatened both elephant and rhino's population in the country.

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