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Kenya both a source and route for illegal Ivory....

Discussion in 'Kenyan News and Politics' started by Ab-Titchaz, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

    Jul 24, 2012
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    Kenya both a source and route for illegal ivory


    A Kenya Wildlife Services ranger shows elephant tusks intercepted from poachers. Now a wildlife conservation organisation has kicked up a storm over increased ivory trafficking from Kenya to Asian countries.

    Posted Monday, July 23 2012 at 23:30

    In Summary

    • International Fund for Animal Welfare accuses Kenya of perpetuating illegal trade after more than half a tonne of ivory from Kenya is seized by customs officials in two Asian countries

    It's hardly a year since the government conducted a high profile burning of tonnes of ivory recovered from smugglers in a bid to deter poachers from killing the country's elephants.

    Now a wildlife conservation organisation has kicked up a storm over increased ivory trafficking from Kenya to Asian countries.

    International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) Eastern Africa regional director James Isiche said Kenya was culpable in perpetuating the illegal trade.

    This comes in the wake of the news that more than half a tonne of ivory was seized by customs officials in two Asian countries last week.

    Thai customs officials discovered 456 kg of ivory which had been hidden in crates aboard a flight from Kenya on Friday last week.

    Vietnamese passengers

    Earlier in the week, the director said, Vietnam customs officials had arrested two Vietnamese passengers who had 137 kilogrammes of ivory from Africa.

    The smugglers had transported the consignment from Angola through Kenya before heading to the lucrative black market in Asia.

    Praising the Thai and Vietnam customs officials for a job well done in the seizure of the hauls and apprehension of the suspects involved, he warned that Kenya was becoming culpable in the smuggling of ivory into the illegal markets.

    "Cases of elephant poaching are on the rise in Kenya, and it is now emerging that the country is not only a source of illegal ivory, but has also become one of the smuggling routes of choice for traffickers," he said.

    He said the two seizures was a fraction of the ivory trafficked out of Africa into the large illegal markets in Asia, with most contraband going undetected.

    "While Kenyan authorities have in the past done a commendable job in impounding ivory at various exit points in the country, the trend of seizures in the last one and half years has been worrying," he said.

    The director in his statement, said that there was need and an urgency for all authorities in Kenya and other elephant range states to protect elephants from poachers as well as to seal off their routes to deter criminal gangs involved in this vice.

    This comes a few days after IFAW sounded an alarm, accusing Cape Town in South Africa of becoming an ivory transit point after 46 elephant tusks were found hidden in boxes of wine destined for Hong Kong.

    The director said that this was the fifth ivory-related incident linked to the South African city since November 2011.

    Demand for ivory in China and other Asian countries is largely to blame for the rising elephant poaching in Africa, a situation Mr Isiche says is a threat to wildlife conservation.

    He regretted that this was happening after his organisation trained more than 1,300 law enforcement officers from several Africa, Middle East, Asia, Oceania and Caribbean countries in the crusaders of anti poaching.

    Two weeks ago, residents of Taita Taveta through their spokesman Mr Mwandawiro Mbela, threatened to take the KWS to court over increased livestock grazing in Tsavo East and Tsavo West saying that it was degrading the environment and threatened wildlife habitat.
    He said grazing in the park was also a recipe for poaching since most of the herders were armed and were agents of ivory dealers.

    Mr Mbela said the land was set aside for wildlife conservation and not livestock grazing which was also a cover up of poaching.

    Intelligence unit

    Most of the herders were armed and were involved in poaching for ivory under the protection of some KWs officials in the intelligence unit.

    However, Tsavo conservation area assistant director Wilson Korir denied the accusation that his officers were involved in leaking information to the poachers and herders.

    He said the park was a protected area and would not allow anyone to carry out illegal trade in the conservancy.

    "We are guided by strong ethics not to allow illegality in our area of jurisdiction and that is why the government is spending enormous resources to ensure that we manage the parks well," he said.

    The problem , he said was that the cattle herding in the park had spilled over from the neighbouring ranches.

    His denial comes at a time when some of the herdsmen claim that they bribe KWS officials up to Sh300,000 protection fee allegations which Mr Korir denied.

    Vietnam and Thailand are among the worst offenders in fuelling a global black market that is seeing record numbers of elephants and rhinos killed in Africa, environment group World Wildlife Fund said on Monday.

    Releasing a report rating countries' efforts at stopping the trade in endangered species, WWF said elephant poaching was at crisis levels in central Africa while the survival of rhinos was under grave threat in South Africa.

    In parts of Asia, rhino horns are highly prized for their use in traditional medicines - some believe they can cure cancer - while elephants' ivory has for centuries been regarded as a precious decoration.

    Global efforts to stem the trade have been under way for years, but China, Thailand and Vietnam are allowing black markets in various endangered species to flourish by failing to adequately police key areas, according to WWF.

    It said Vietnam was one of the countries of most concern, giving it a worst-possible "red" score for failing to stem the trade in rhino horns as well as tiger parts.

    "It is time for Vietnam to face the fact that its illegal consumption of rhino horn is driving the widespread poaching of endangered rhinos in Africa," said WWF's global species programme manager, Elizabeth McLellan.

    "It must crack down on the illegal rhino horn trade."

    WWF said Vietnam was the top destination for rhino horns illegally imported from South Africa.

    It described South Africa as the "epicentre" in an African rhino poaching crisis, despite strong government efforts there that began in 2009 to stop the killings.

    A record 448 rhinos were poached in South Africa in 2011, and this year could be even worse with 262 already lost from January to June, according to WWF.

    The wildlife group accused the Vietnamese government of doing very little to stop rhino horns from being imported, describing penalties in Vietnam for buying them as not nearly strong enough to act as a deterrent.

    Kenya both a source and route for illegal ivory *- News*|
  2. Kumbakumba

    Kumbakumba JF-Expert Member

    Jul 31, 2012
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    there is also a need to strengthening cross-boarder anti-poaching patrols among countries
  3. Mr Rocky

    Mr Rocky JF-Expert Member

    Jul 31, 2012
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    Hii ni hatari maana Tembo na Rhino wanazidi kupungua na ujangili unazidi kushika kasi kwa haraka sana