Yet More Large Ivory Seizures
Last Thursday night (5th May), fourteen metal boxes, labeled as originating from two fictitious embassies and destined for Lagos in Nigeria, were inspected by officials at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, following a tip off.
Inside, 115 pieces of elephant tusks weighing 1.3 tonnes were discovered and subsequently seized by a joint security team comprised of the Kenya Airports Police Unit, the Customs Department of the Kenya Revenue Authority and the Kenya Wildlife Service.
Earlier the same day, nearly 600kg in elephant tusks were found during a customs inspection at Hai Phong Port in Vietnam, a frequent seizure point for ivory in transit from Africa to destination countries in the Far East. Metal tanks for transporting rubber had been cut open and then soldered shut with the ivory inside, in an attempt to escape detection. The shipping container holding the rubber tanks originated in Tanzania and was labeled for re-export to China.
Not including the massive 707 tusk seizure in China last month, this brings the total amount of illegal ivory seized by customs and police officials in Africa and Asia so far this year to at least 9 tonnes. With half the year not yet gone, these fast mounting figures show no sign of buckling the worrying trend of increased illegal ivory trade observed in recent years.