Six days = 4.5 Tonnes Elephant Ivory Seized in Mombasa, Kenya

Six days = 4.5 Tonnes Elephant Ivory Seized in  Mombasa, Kenya
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Cape Town, South Africa

Monday’s seizure of three tonnes of elephant ivory in Mombasa Port brings to 4.5 tonnes of ivory seized in the Kenyan city in less than one week.

Monday’s seizure of three tonnes was discovered disguised as a consignment of peanuts, while the last week’s seizure of 1.5 tonnes was disguised as dried fish. Both consignments were to be delivered to Malaysia.

“Kenya’s law enforcement authorities have clearly upped the game in their determination to put an end to ivory trafficking,” said Jason Bell, Director: Elephant Programme of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW – www.ifaw.org).

“Their achievements in less than a week are both thrilling and very depressing – their work to interrupt the illegal trade in elephants is very encouraging, but the fact that so much ivory is being intercepted is an indication of how far out of control elephant poaching has become.”

Yesterday, Tanzanian and Malawian authorities announced they had seized 1,126 pieces of ivory in a joint security crackdown.

East Africa has been identified as a major source and trafficking route for poached ivory. This latest seizure brings to over eight tonnes the amount of ivory linked to Kenya seized so far this year.

•  Nearly 3.5 tonnes of ivory were seized in January 2013 (two tonnes were seized in Mombasa port and a further tonne, shipped from Mombasa, was seized in Hong Kong).
•  In May Dubai authorities seized 259 elephant tusks concealed in a container shipped from Mombasa.
• On July 3, 1.5 tonnes of ivory was seized in Mombasa and disguised as dried fish.
• Today, three tonnes of ivory was seized in Mombasa and disguised as peanuts.

“The killing of elephants for their ivory is a global calamity,” said James Isiche, IFAW Regional Director – East Africa (International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org). “If ever we needed real commitment by the international community to take action against illegal wildlife trade.”

Most illegal ivory is destined for Asia, in particular China, where it has soared in value as an investment vehicle and is coveted as “white gold”. Limited availability of legal ivory in China purchased form the stockpile sale in southern Africa in 2008 has, in turn, boosted demand encouraging illegal ivory trade and the poaching of elephant to meet market needs.

As part of a worldwide capacity building initiative IFAW trains law enforcement officers in wildlife trafficking prevention in several countries throughout Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Oceania, and the Caribbean. The organization recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Interpol, the first ever signed by Interpol’s Environmental Crime Programme with an NGO. IFAW and Interpol have collaborated on numerous projects since 2005 including Interpol’s largest-ever illegal ivory trade operation in 2012.

Ends

A new IFAW report, Criminal Nature: The Global Security Implications of the Illegal Wildlife Trade, documents the threat the illegal trade poses to animals like elephants and rhinos, and also people.

The learn more about the illegal ivory trade, download IFAW’s digital magazine Unveiling the Ivory Trade..

About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)

Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Experts

Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
IFAW Elephant Expert
IFAW Elephant Expert
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
James Isiche, Regional Director, East Africa
Regional Director, East Africa
Jason Bell, Program Director, Elephants Regional Director, South Africa
Program Director, Elephants, Regional Director, South Africa
Peter Pueschel, Director, International Environmental Agreements
Director, International Environmental Agreements
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Regional Director, South Asia