- December 3rd, 2011: “Acting on intelligence, Custom Officials and KWS seized a consignment of 465 pieces or elephant tusks weighing 1647 kgs disguised as “soapstone handicrafts” packed in 60 well-secured cartons and 8 wooden crates destined for export to Cambodia.” Kenya Wildlife Service stated they had been tracking the container for three weeks.
- The processing agent, identified as being Calbens Conveyors, was suspended by KRA pending investigations. There is no indication that they, or anyone else was ever charged relating to this seizure.
- On November 1st, 2011, a smaller ‘sister’ seizure of 87 tusks weighing approximately 600 kg had been made in Nairobi. (#103)
DNA ORIGIN AND ANALYSIS
1. DNA analysis indicated that the ivory originated from elephants found primarily in Tanzania (shaded brown) and Mozambique with a percentage from Kenya. (tusk origin locations indicated by blue circles in diagram).
2. It was also found that tusks of two elephants had been separated pre-loading, with 2 singlets found in this shipment and the matching ‘tusk mates’ (also referred to as ‘direct matches’) found in an ivory seizure in Sri Lanka 6 months later.
3. The Sri Lanka seizure similarly had matching “tusk mates” in a 6 tonne ivory seizure made in Malaysia in December 2012
Sh150m ivory haul seized at Kenyan port
Saturday December 3 2011 The Nation
By Gitonga Marete and Bozo Jenje
The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has seized a large consignment of elephant tusks worth Sh158 million at the Mombasa Port destined for export to the Far East. The 465 pieces of ivory were packed in 60 well secured cartons and eight wooden crates.
The seizure comes just two months (later determined to be November 1) after 87 pieces of tusks weighing over 600 kilogrammes were confiscated, raising concerns over the busy port becoming a transit point for illegal ivory trade.
Speaking to journalists Saturday, KWS warden Arthur Tuda said the source of the tusks could not immediately be established.
“This dealer sources his consignment from various parts in Uganda, Tanzania and possibly Zimbabwe, then packages them in Nairobi for export,” he said.
The consignment arrived in Mombasa from Nairobi on November 28, Kenya Revenue Authority officials said.
According to Mr Tuda, before the suspected cargo was impounded, KWS had tracked it for three weeks.
“After our investigators alerted us about the consignment, KWS wrote to the KRA Commissioner of Customs asking for full verification to establish the contents of the container,” Mr Tuda said.
The agent who processed the documents, Calbens Conveyors Limited declared the tusks as soapstone handicrafts and destined to Cambodia, said Kennedy Onyonyi who is in charge of marketing and communications at KRA.