Kenyan customs officers seized almost four tonnes of elephant ivory in two separate shipments, amid a surge in poaching of the threatened animals, officials announced Wednesday (October 9th).
One haul of ivory weighing about 1,900 kilogrammes was discovered Friday at the Mombasa port, hidden under bags of sesame seeds, Kenya Revenue Authority official Fatma Yusuf said.
On Tuesday, a further two tonnes 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, officials found over 500 kilogrammes of pangolin scales -- meaning potentially dozens of the threatened scaly anteaters were hunted for use in traditional medicine and as fashion accessories in Asia.
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Director Arthur Tudor said searches at the Mombasa port were increasing 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 ivory trade... it is threatening elephant populations in the country and entire region."
Also on Tuesday, Kenya and Tanzania launched a joint one-week aerial count of the wild population in the shared ecosystem of the Amboseli-West Kilimanjaro and Natron- Magadi, KWS announced.
"The aerial census seeks to establish the landscape's wildlife population abundance, trends and distribution," KWS said.