More blood ivory seized at Mombasa port by vigilant officials


Customs, security and KWS officials have yesterday seized two tons of blood ivory, containing some 600 tusks and pieces of ivory, said to be worth over 1 million US Dollars on the open market.

Information from Mombasa indicates that the container was labeled as containing ornamental stones from Tanzania, destined for Indonesia, which is however thought to be only an intermediate destination en route to the real consumer markets in either Vietnam or China.

No arrests have been announced though persons mentioned on the shipping documents are now high on the wanted list to answer questions, as are the clearing agents of the cargo.

Kenya, like all other safari destinations in Eastern and Southern Africa, has been under assault by organized international crime syndicates targeting elephant and rhino for ivory and horns and CITES sources estimated as many as 30.000 elephant having been killed last year alone. Kenya Wildlife Service CEO William Kiprono, who was appointed in October last year, has made anti poaching operations the centre piece of his organization and has recorded several positive results in recent weeks taking out poachers gangs, but as seen here, also set backs as the menace has taken deep roots which require more than just good will or good fortune.

The use of sniffer dogs and advanced screening methods has however led to making exporting through Kenya a huge risk now as in particular transit passengers from other African countries often get nabbed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as their luggage is checked for contraband, but as a recent major seizure of blood ivory from Kenya and Tanzania in Hong Kong shows, still not enough is being done.

The upcoming CITES meeting in Bangkok will arguably be one of the most contentious in the recent history of the organization as more and more national are now advocating for a total ban on trade, processing and possession of illegal ivory. Watch this space as congratulations go to the vigilant officers who confiscated this shipment.