Over 1,600 pieces of illegal ivory were confiscated by the Kenyan officials in the past week and they were weighing almost five tones. These pieces were found hidden inside sesame seed sacks which was about to be shipped to Turkey.
According to the officials, illegal hunting of wildlife is so high in places across sub-Saharan Africa where there are armed gangs of poachers who are slaughtering elephants to meet the markets demand for ivory in Asia where they grind rhino horns into powder for use as Asian medicines.
Arthur Tuda, Kenya Wildlife Service’s (KWS) officer in charge of Coast region said while talking to the press that this ivory came had come from Uganda through the Kenya-Uganda border and it was stashed in sacks of sesame seeds, and t hidden in two 40-foot containers. The export documents indicated that the containers as carrying sesame seeds.
There were two separate seizures and in both ivory was seized which was valued at a total of 97 million shillings which is about $1.14 million making it the largest weekly haul in the past five years.
Unfortunately, a customs official has confirmed that the smugglers are also increasingly shipping the smuggled goods through countries which are not exactly associated with demand for ivory and rhino horn powder to avoid raising authorities’ suspicions.
KWS officials said that they will carry out a DNA study to help them determine where the ivory came from.