Kenya: Villager arrested with 30 kilos of elephant tusks in Keiyo

Jul 4, 2024 | News

By Cyrus Ombati, The Star

A villager was at the weekend arrested after he was found with 30 kilos of elephant tusks valued at Sh3 million in Keiyo, Elgeyo Marakwet County.

This increased the number of those arrested over the trafficking of ivory in the past days to three and the value of the recovered tusks to Sh5.9 million.

They include a police officer, police said.

The latest incident happened within the Chepkinoyo area, Elgeyo Marakwet where police raided the house of a local and recovered two elephant tusks weighing 30 kilos and valued at Sh3 million.

The incident happened on Sunday, June 30.

This followed a tip from locals who told police an elephant had been killed and the suspect was keeping the tusks.

He was detained at a local police station pending arraignment.

A police officer and a civilian were Sunday arrested while trafficking elephant tusks valued at Sh2.9 million in Naivasha, Nakuru County.

The two were intercepted by police and Kenya Wildlife Service personnel in the Longonot area at about 9 am as they moved in a car with the 20 pieces of elephant tusks weighing 29 kilos.

Police said the arrested policeman was attached to Utheri Wa Lari police station in Naivasha.

The second suspect was a civilian who is said to have been the owner of the cargo.

They were detained at the Naivasha police cells pending arraignment on Monday, July 1, 2024.

Police said the suspects will be charged with the offence of being in Possession of Wildlife Trophies of Endangered Species Contrary to Section 92(4) of the Wildlife Conservation Management Act 2013. Officials said the seizure shows up to eight elephants had been killed and there is a likelihood the incidents happened in the nearby parks.

Elephant tusks fetch a fortune in the black market as a surge in demand for ivory in the East continues to fuel the illicit trade in elephant tusks, especially from Africa.

Officials say despite a ban on the international ivory trade, African elephants are still being poached in large numbers.

As part of efforts to stop the menace, Kenya has started using high-tech surveillance equipment, including drones, to track poachers and keep tabs on elephants and rhinos.

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and stakeholders have 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 led to zero rhino poaching in Kenya in 2020-the first time in about two decades. At least 20,000 elephants are killed annually in Africa for their ivory.

On April 30, 2016, Kenya set ablaze 105 tonnes of elephant ivory and 1.35 tonnes of rhino horn.

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta led world leaders and conservationists in burning the remains of 6,500 elephants and 450 rhinos killed for their tusks and horns.

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