Addis Ababa and Nairobi site of two ivory seizures in two days.
Two Kenyan Men Charged
- September 27, 2009, authorities at Addis Ababa airport seize an air freight consignment of 637 kg of ivory heading to Thailand.
- September 29, 2009, and acting on intelligence from 1st seizure, JKIA authorities find the second consignment of 532 kg of ivory waiting to be air freighted to Thailand through Addis Ababa.
- Kenya Police charged Charles Maina Wamburi and Jeremiah Mathangu Nzoka (CF 1817/09) where they were later acquitted in Milimani court.
The discovery came the day after 637kg of tusks were found at Addis Ababa’s airport under a shipment bearing the same name as the Kenyan consignment.
The combined haul was one of the largest ever in East Africa.
Intelligence tip-offs led officers with sniffer dogs to a Kenya Airways warehouse at Nairobi’s international airport, where 61 tusks weighing a total of 532kg were found late on Tuesday.
Falsely declared as wooden benches, they were due to be flown to Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, where it is understood they would be transferred to a different flight to Bangkok. Ethiopia’s authorities had found the matching shipment a day earlier waiting to be loaded onto the same Thailand-bound flight.
“We are pretty sure that these are illegal trophies which were poached locally, in Kenya, and that they were to be sent to Asia where they are now earning a very high price,” said Paul Udoto, spokesman for the Kenya Wildlife Service.
Rangers in Kenya have found more than 125 elephant carcases so far this year with their tusks removed. Many others are likely to have been killed but their bodies not yet found.
This is almost three times as many as in 2007, and points to the growth in demand for ivory which some conservationists say was driven by a one-off legal sale to Japan and China earlier this year.
“This is a great coup for the Kenya Wildlife Service,” said Iain Douglas-Hamilton, founder of Save The Elephants.