NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 9 – Fifty one out of 289 illegal ivory seizures worldwide were done at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in the past seven years.
This is according to a report by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) released during its 72nd Annual General Meeting in Dublin.
The findings suggest that a large portion of illegally trafficked wildlife products are routed through Kenya’s main airport with most of the illegal ivory destined for Asia, in particular China, where it has soared in value.
In April, Kenya destroyed 105 tonnes of ivory; the single largest quantity to be destroyed in the world, in efforts to send a message that ivory is of no value.
“Given the prevailing levels of wildlife crime in the world, there is a need to enhance intelligence gathering and investigations to sever the links of wildlife trafficking,” said James Isiche, Regional Director International Fund for Animal Welfare East Africa.
“Efforts also need to be increased to improve the capacity for collaboration amongst law enforcement agencies to nab wildlife traffickers. IFAW is working with countries in Africa and Asia which are source, transit and consumer countries of wildlife products towards achieving this outcome through capacity building activities for wildlife law enforcement officers,” he added.
The ports of Mombasa and Dar-es-Salaam are major transit points for ivory within the Eastern African region.
The report indicates lack of proper laws to guard our entry points have derailed spirited efforts to curb the menace.
Wildlife trafficking is one of the world’s most lucrative criminal activities – valued at billions of US dollars annually.
According to an IFAW report Criminal Nature: The Global Security Implications of the Illegal Wildlife Trade, ivory smuggling and the wildlife trade has been linked to other forms of organized crime such as terrorism, illegal arms and drug trafficking.