Elephant-tusk container seized

2011-11-26 12:48

Nairobi – Kenyan authorities have seized a container loaded with 87 elephant tusks and disguised as soapstone carvings destined for Hong Kong, a customs official said.

The 20-foot container was impounded at a depot in Nairobi. As it was being inspected for clearance for shipment, officials scanning its contents became suspicious.

“It was declared as assorted handicrafts destined for Hong Kong. Upon scanning, our customs officers discovered that the images were suspect and a decision was made to subject the container to a 100 percent verification,” said Ezekiel Maru, communications and marketing officer at the Kenya Revenue.

“We found 11 wooden crates containing 25 pieces of elephant tusks and 15 cartons containing 61 pieces of tusks. The other cartons that had been used to camouflage had assorted soapstone and wood carvings. Some had tiles and other stuffings,” he said, as other officers unpacked the container in the background.

Maru, speaking to reporters yesterday, said a total of 87 tusks were recovered. He did not say where the tusks came from or if any arrests had been made. Television footage showed one man holding a tusk taller than he was.

Poaching has declined significantly in Kenya from the 1980s and 1990s when gangs decimated its elephants and hunted its rhinos almost to extinction, the Kenya Wildlife Service says.

Ivory from African elephants is typically smuggled to Asia where it is carved into ornaments, while rhino horn is used in traditional Chinese medicines.

Kenya opposes any lifting of a nine-year ban on ivory sales agreed in 2007 under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Authorities fear such a move would revive the market for ivory and lead to increased poaching.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.