The arrest of three suspects by the Kenyan authorities, thought to be the kingpins linked to the seizures of nearly seven tonnes of elephant ivory in Singapore and Thailand since the end of April, on Monday was applauded by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
A multi-agency task force arrested the suspects â€“ a wealthy business man and his two sons â€“ in an upmarket area of Mombasa last week.
So far, 14 individuals have been arrested in connection with the illegal shipment of ivory from Mombasa Port.
Two consignments of ivory had been shipped from Mombasa Port, in containers and disguised as tea leaves.
On 25th April the Thai authorities made the first seizure of three tonnes of ivory. The consignment had passed through several ports including Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore before being discovered on arrival in Thailand.
The seizure of 3.7 tonnes in Singapore on 19th May was said to be the island nation’s second largest seizure of ivory in a decade.
These arrests are an admirable demonstration of how multi-agency cooperation can help stop the poaching of elephants and illegal trade, said James Isiche, IFAW Regional Director, East Africa in a statement issued in Nairobi.
No country or organisation can single-handedly combat wildlife killing and trafficking hence the need to develop strong partnerships not only amongst countries but international agencies. IFAW is happy to support such initiatives and strongly believes that a coordinated inter-country and inter-agency approach amongst source, transit and destination countries is critical to effectively mitigate wildlife crime, he said.
Last Friday, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government, Joseph Nkaissery, said intelligence gathered suggested that monies raised from the sale of ivory was intended to fund a secessionist group in Kenya as well as terrorism activities.