Nairobi, May 7: In a major wildlife organ catch, Kenyan officials have seized nearly 115 tusks of African elephant weighing 1.5 tonnes at main airport in Nairobi. The ivory were coated with peeper and sealed in metal boxes to avoid sniffer dogs at the airport.
Reuters quoted senior deputy commissioner at the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Kennedy Onyonyi saying that these shipments were from two non-existent embassies in Kenya and booked for Nigeria.
However, Kenyan police have not made any arrest so far in the ivory smuggling case but assured that the involved people will be arrested as there are string evidence.
The population of African Elephant (Loxodonta) reduced significantly due to poaching as the rising demand of ivory from East Asian countries pushed the prices to sky high incentivizing the poachers to take extra risk. In a decade prior to imposition of international ban in the trade in ivory in 1990 the elephant population reduced by half to 600,000 from 1.3 million earlier.
Ivory trade pushed esteemed African elephant to the brink of extinction. Even after ban in trade, lack of strict imposition of ban added by rampant poverty in the region, elephant population is still declining in the region. An average tusk weighs from 23–45 kg and can be from 1.5–2.4 m long. Unlike Asian elephants, both male and female African elephants have tusks.
The biggest market of ivory is Asia where it is used for manufacturing ornaments. China and Japan are biggest official buyers of Ivory from the zone, signaling that there could be possibility of presence of deep nexus of smugglers.