VIGILANT CUSTOMS STAFF IMPOUNDS 32 TUSKS AT MOMBASA PORT
China was the destination of a container, which upon closer inspection by customs and enforcement staff was found to contain 32 elephant tusks, when a gut feeling prompted officers last night to open the shipment only to discover blood ivory.
A shipping agent was subsequently arrested to help the authorities with their investigations to establish where the tusks originated from and who was the owner of the cargo or the immediate sender of the cargo.
Kenya as become a hot spot for ivory smugglers as KWS is now habitually deploying sniffer dogs at airports and sea ports, which over the past months has led to multiple arrests and seizure of contraband.
Notably, most of those arrested were Chinese citizens and most of the cargos were destined, at times via waypoints, to a final destination in China, leaving the Chinese government open to a growing chorus of accusations of doing too little to discourage their people to stop the purchase of ivory or its illegal transportation. A country which so liberally applies the death penalty to so many crimes, here the Chinese government seems reluctant to use similar deterrent. Thousands of elephant are being slaughtered in Africa and the blood ivory ends up in China. Hundreds of rhinos have been butchered for their horn and the stuff ends up in China. What is wrong with these people, unless they think of us Africans and our heritage in wildlife on the continent that we are worthless, useless unless the elephant are dead and the ivory is carved for their nouvelle riche said an outspoken conservationists to this correspondent, before expressing his joy that a Chinese citizen was sentenced to 4 years in prison in Brazzaville for possession of ivory and fined 7 million Francs overall for the crime. This must be replicated everywhere in Africa. Law abiding Chinese are welcome as everyone else, but sadly there are just too many Chinese now caught red handed.
Laws across the region are weak and have been contributing with light fines and short sentences to the upswing in poaching but are under review in most safari countries now with the aim of inflicting crippling financial penalties on poachers and their financiers and hand down long sentences. Congratulations to the officers involved in the seizure yesterday night and keep up the good work.