Man in possession of processed ivory worth Sh10m held in Nairobi
A man was at the weekend arrested with processed ivory valued at Sh10 million.
Police said the suspect was arrested along Isinya-Kajiado highway while riding on a motorcycle. The ivory had been made as ornaments and police suspect they were being transported to be repackaged for export.
The operation was conducted by personnel from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). This followed a tip-off to the police that the suspect was ferrying the ornaments. He is expected in court on Monday.
This is the latest arrest despite campaigns to discourage the trend. According to the Wildlife Management Act 2013, any person who keeps or is found in possession of a wildlife trophy without permission, shall be liable upon conviction to a fine of not less than Sh1 million or imprisonment for a term of not less than five years or both.
KWS is putting in place strong measures across all entry and exit points, border checks and international airports to curb any illegal wildlife activities.
Dozens of suspects including foreigners are frequently arrested at the airport with the trophies.
Recent trends show that the far eastern countries continue to present a lucrative market for ivory and other wildlife trophies.
Poaching in the region is on the rise as armed criminal gangs kill elephants for tusks and rhinos for horns, which are usually shipped to Asia.
As part of efforts to stop the crime, Kenya has started using high-tech surveillance equipment including drones to track poaching gangs and keep tabs on elephants and rhinos.
Parliament has also passed strict anti-poaching laws and the government has beefed up security at parks to stop poaching, which threatens the vital tourism industry.
Regionally, Kenya has also emerged as a major transit route for ivory destined for Asian markets from eastern and central Africa. The illegal ivory trade is mostly fueled by demand in Asia and the Middle East, where elephant tusks and rhinoceros horns are used to make ornaments and traditional medicines.