UGANDAN CONTAINER WITH BLOOD IVORY SEIZED IN MOMBASA
(Posted 03rd July 2013)
Disturbing news are emerging from Mombasa that a 20 ft container, reportedly originating in Uganda, was seized in a shipping yard in Changamwe near the port of Mombasa, while awaiting to be shipped to a yet to be confirmed destination overseas.
The source in Mombasa could also not ascertain if the seizure was a result of a tip off or general inspection of cargo destined for certain countries, which are now under increased scrutiny over their hunger and greed for blood ivory.
Several other containers from the same point of origin are still being tracked down, raising the spectrum of finding yet more illicit ivory concealed to smuggle out of Africa.
The quantity of the ivory confiscated was still under wraps by the time this information came to light but is reportedly substantial enough to be termed a major find.
While poaching of elephants in Uganda remains low and is relatively contained, compared to for instance Tanzania which has been named as the largest source of blood ivory by recent reports, Uganda is believed to be used as a transit point for ivory smuggled from neighbouring countries. While generally customs and enforcement agencies vigilance is high it clearly needs improving to prevent future incidents of the same kind.
No arrests have been made by the time of uploading this article but several individuals connected to the container and its’ ‘paperwork’ are wanted by police in Mombasa and in Kampala for questioning.
In an update received on 04th July it was confirmed that around 770 pieces of ivory were confiscated by Kenya Wildlife Service, weighing over 1 ½ tons. Kenyan official put the value of the find at over 29 million Kenya Shillings. Efforts are underway to establish the country of origin of the seized blood ivory, to find out if the tusks came from Uganda or third countries, as has been suggested by Ugandan wildlife officials, with common boundaries like South Sudan or the Congo DR, where, according to some sources, poaching is absolutely rampant.