NAIROBI, August 22 – Interpol officials in Frankfurt, Germany Thursday evening intercepted a contraband cargo containing reptiles from Mombasa.,
The consignment of 338 reptiles included terrapins, geckos, turtles, spiders, frogs and snakes that require an export permit from the Kenya Wildlife Service, the State agency in charge of wildlife.
It came barely hours after two people, a German national and a Kenyan, were arrested and questioned by police for attempting to illegally export 113 live reptiles to Japan through the Moi International Airport, Mombasa.
The German interception followed a request by the regional wildlife security agency Lusaka Agreement Task Force in Nairobi.
The Interpol officials have launched international investigations into the illegal trade in live wildlife protected by the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officials from the headquarters have joined their colleagues at the coast to investigate the activities of the Mabokoni game farm in Ukunda, Kwale where the contraband haul is suspected to have originated.
They are seeking to question directors of the farm which has a temporary license to keep wildlife but no export permit.
KWS intelligence officials intercepted the haul on Wednesday at 12pm at the coastal town’s airport.
Initial information indicated that the luggage was to be flown through the Mombasa airport to Japan on Wednesday at 1pm, just an hour before the security agents caught with the courier.
A courier agent sent to drop the consignment was arrested before he could load the caged snakes onto the Japan-bound plane. He told investigators that the consignment belonged to a director of a reptile farm in Ukunda, Kwale District, about 40km from Mombasa.
The agent led the security officials to the owner of the consignment at the game farm where they arrested him at midnight. The proprietor of the farm is of German origin with resident status in Kenya while his agent is Kenyan. Both are being questioned by police at the Mombasa Central Police Station.
KWS records indicate that the farm has a temporary license to manage the game farm but has no permit to export the reptiles protected by the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) regulations.