-- An international
conservation group on Monday called on Kenyan
authorities to protect elephants from poachers and
seal off exit routes to avert illegal trade in
In a statement issued in
Nairobi, the International Fund for Animal
Welfare (IFAW) expressed concern over reports
that 3.8 tonnes of illegal ivory originated from
Kenya was seized in Hong Kong over the weekend.
"The Government of Kenya
owes its citizenry and the global community an
explanation for this implication.
"Kenyans deserve to know
what action has been or is being taken against
these criminals who seem to be having a field
day," James Isiche, regional director for
IFAW Eastern Africa, said in a statement issued
Hong Kong customs officers seized
almost four tonnes of ivory worth about 3.4
million U.S. dollars, hidden in shipments from
Kenya and Tanzania, which however, has denied the
Some 1,209 pieces of raw ivory
tusk and a small number of ivory ornaments were
discovered in two containers marked "plastic
scrap" and "roscoco beans", shipped
to Hong Kong earlier this week, a customs official
The smuggled ivory, weighing 3.81
tonnes, the largest ever seizure by Hong Kong
authorities, was found hidden among bags of
plastic scraps and beans by customs officers
acting on a tip-off from counterparts in mainland
"The total seizure is worth
about 3.4 million," the Hong Kong customs
department said, adding that it will step up
efforts with mainland Chinese authorities to
combat transnational smuggling activities.
The seizure came barely three
months since Vietnam officials arrested two
Vietnamese passengers who had 137 kg of ivory.
The smugglers had transported the
consignment from Angola through Kenya before
heading to Asia.
"We also need to know if
the present high poaching incidences in the
country are feeding into these criminal
syndicates, who their local links are, and what
action has been taken to arrest the situation
both for elephants in the wild and the criminals
involved in the vice," Isiche said.
"If our sea ports and
airports are secure conduits for illicit ivory,
then it can also be concluded that the same
applies for other contraband which could be
detrimental to our very own security," he
The seizure of illegal ivory from
Kenya continues despite efforts by the Kenya
Wildlife Service (KWS), which is introducing the
Canine Unit with sniffer dogs on a 24-hour basis
at the Jomo Kenyatta in Nairobi and Moi
International Airport in Mombasa to detect
movements of illegal ivory.
The unit has since 2009 netted
more than eight tonnes of raw and worked ivory.
This, according to the wildlife
agency, has effectively led to reduced smuggling
of illegal trophies. Plans are at an advanced
stage by KWS to also introduce sniffer dogs at the
Eldoret International Airport as well as other
exit and entry points.
Stiffer penalties related to
wildlife crime have been incorporated under the
proposed wildlife law to deter poaching- related
cases and incidents in Kenya.
"At this rate, I dread that
in a month or less, there will be another
seizure implicating Kenya and Tanzania, the two
major conduits or sources or both of large
consignments of illegal ivory in the last two
years," Isiche said.,
Last December, another consignment
with 727 ivory pieces and weighing over 2,500 kg
was intercepted at the same port in Mombasa.
According to Isiche, 2011 proved
to be one of the most disastrous in terms of
elephant ivory confiscations.
Last month, IFAW uncovered more
than 300 elephants slaughtered in eight weeks in
Cameroon’s Bouba Ndjida National Park by
-- The governor of the northernmost
Mozambican province of Niassa, David Malizane, on
Thursday accused foreign nationals of poaching in
the Niassa National Park.
Malizane said that the criminals
are killing elephants and rhinos to remove tusks
and horns, leaving the animals rotting.
"I urge the population in
the area to be very vigilant against the
poachers," he said, adding that the
criminals work with local people, who know the
park "very well".
He accused Malawians and
Tanzanians of being involved in the poaching.
The governor also announced that
the provincial government is to step up security
along the borders with Tanzania and Malawi to curb
"We are going to take
security measures along the borders to prevent
the poachers from entering our park".
Poaching problem is also faced in
the northwestern province of Tete, where six
people including three Zimbabweans and three
Mozambicans were arrested two weeks ago in Magoe
The Zimbabweans are accused of
using anti tank mines to kill elephants in Magoe.
In the central province of Manica, poachers use
poison to kill the mammals and remove tusks for
In Manica, the government accuses
Zimbabweans and Zambians of indiscriminate killing
of elephants and rhinos.