Officials of the Custom Exercise and Preventive Service in Kenya have seized a large consignment of Ivory which was bound for Turkey at the coastal port city of Mombasa.
The four tonnes of ivory were hidden inside sacks of sesame seeds in order to deceive port officials to be able to ship the Ivory to its destination.
The Kenyan Wildlife Service said more than 1,600 pieces of ivory were counted in the consignment and its market value is around $1.4m.
Kenya Wildlife Service President, Arthur Tuda said the ivory was found during two separate searches on different days at the port city of Mombasa.
“The ivory came through the Kenya-Uganda border stashed in sacks, and they were hidden in two 4ft containers, export documents declared the containers as carrying sesame seeds,” he said.
But customs official said smugglers sometimes ships Ivory Tusks through countries not normally associated with demand for ivory and thereafter, ships it to Asia where demand for Ivory is believed to be very high.
Searches at Mombasa port were being increased in a bid to stop smugglers from evading and violating laws on Ivory.
In January this year, two tones of ivory worth around $1m were seized in Mombasa port while in transit from Tanzania to Indonesia.
In July too, officials seized large consignment of some 770 pieces ivory tusk hacked out of elephants which had come from neighboring Uganda and was bound for Malaysia.
The Kenyan government and many African nations have banned trade in ivory which made poaching subsequently declined but there has been a rise in the illegal practice in recent years with poachers resorting to other methods in perpetuating their trade.
Kenya has recently taken a more aggressive stance against poaching as it tries to combat a surge in demand for ivory from Asia.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species has also banned the trade in ivory in 1989 but in recent years poaching has increased across sub-Saharan Africa with criminal gangs slaughtering elephants for ivory markets in Asia.
Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News