By Capital FM News
A police officer who was arrested over the weekend with elephant tusks worth Sh2.1 million is due to be charged in court.
The officer had been arrested in Meru Township while carrying the tusks that he intended to sell to a potential buyer. Police together with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officials were tipped off before they moved in and found him carrying the same. The officer later led the team to another accomplice in the area in the Saturday morning operation.
The men are expected in court Monday to face charges of possession and trafficking of the tusks.
Despite a ban on the international trade in ivory, African elephants are still being poached in large numbers. 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. KWS working with stakeholders has put in place mechanisms to eradicate all forms of wildlife crime, particularly poaching. These mechanisms include enhanced community education, interagency collaboration, and intensive intelligence-led operations among others.
These efforts have led to zero rhino poaching in Kenya in the year 2020; the first time in about two decades. At least 20,000 elephants are killed annually in Africa for their ivory. This translates into 55 elephants killed daily or one elephant killed every 26 minutes with a population of 35,000 elephants.
On April 30, 2016, Kenya set ablaze 105 tonnes of elephant ivory and 1.35 tonnes of rhino horn to smouldering ash.