THE GREED FOR IVORY CONTINUES UNABATED
(Posted 07th June 2016)
Just over two months after President Uhuru Kenyatta set alight over 105 tons of blood ivory and nearly 1.5 tons of rhino horns, in his speech sounding a sharp warning to poachers, financiers, traders and smugglers, was earlier today another major seizure at the port of Mombasa reported.
Ivory worth millions of Kenya Shillings was found in a container which was being readied for shipment at the container freight inspection station by alert officers from the Kenya Revenue Authority, assisted by Kenya Wildlife Service personnel, while carrying out a close up verificatiion of goods inside.
Clearly have the President’s warnings fallen on deaf ears by those who tried to export the ivory, and while no specific destination of the contraband was given as yet is speculation widespread that China was to be the final destination of the container.
It is expected that a media conference will be called tomorrow morning to put a price tag on the seized blood ivory and confirm the number of tusks seized, which is said to be a big bust and no doubt financially painful for the owners.
Investigations are already in full swing to track down the shippers and people and companies named in the documents submitted with the container.
Kenya is advocating for a complete ban of blood ivory without ifs and buts at the upcoming CITES COP2016 in Johannesburg later in the year but strong opposition is emerging from Southern African countries which insist that they should be allowed to trade their blood ivory rather than burn it as Kenya had done. In fact have several countries condemned Kenya for the burn of ivory and rhino horn thought to be worth over 150 million US Dollars and in thinly disguised fashion gone as far as mocking Kenya’s effort, no doubt leading to a major battle of wits and confrontation in the CITES meeting halls and corridors.
Notably however, when in the past the trade was eventually allowed by CITES against objections of many, did it – going by available data – only spur the pace of poaching after the market in the Far East got a shot in the arm but found itself short of yet more so called ‘legal’ ivory.