Kenyan authorities seized 302 pieces of ivory, including 228 elephant tusks, in a raid in the port city of Mombasa, the Kenya Wildlife Service said.
One person has been arrested in connection with the find at a warehouse yesterday, Paul Muya, a spokesman for the service, said by phone today from the capital, Nairobi. The ivory was obtained from more than 130 elephants, he said.
“We don’t know yet where the ivory came from or where it was being trafficked,” Muya said. “The focus now is on apprehending the owner of the warehouse to help with investigations.”
Poachers in Kenya have killed at least 65 elephants, in a population of about 38,000, for their ivory in Kenya this year, the service said in April. The pachyderms are at risk of extinction in Kenya in the next decade if nothing is done to stop a surge in poaching for their tusks, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta said last year.
The illegal slaughter of elephants is at the highest level in a decade in Africa, fueled by global demand for ivory, particularly in China and Thailand, which has pushed up prices, according to Traffic, a wildlife trade-monitoring group. Ivory is used in Chinese traditional medicines and is viewed as a sign of wealth, according to Nairobi-based Save the Elephants.
To contact the reporter on this story: David Malingha Doya in Nairobi at firstname.lastname@example.org