, NAIROBI, Jan 9 – Three suspected poachers were arrested on Saturday in northern Kenya and found with 80 pieces of elephant ivory worth Sh2.5 million (30,900 dollars), the Kenyan wildlife service said.
"During the operation carried out by KWS officers and the police, three suspects were arrested and 80 pieces of ivory recovered," said Paul Udoto, a KWS communications manager.
"The ivory recovered weighs 249 kilogrammes (550 pounds), and a rhino horn weighing five kilogrammes", he said of the operation carried out at the village of Ntugi in the Meru region of north-central Kenya.
"Thirty-six pieces of the ivory… were found buried underground" on the property of one suspect, he said.
The rest of the ivory was found in a saloon car where two of the suspects were arrested.
The third suspect was arrested at his home where police also found "derivatives of the endangered Mountain Bongo, the colobus monkey and game meat… night vision equipment, rifle scopes, a digital weighing balance, poisoned arrows, bows and ammunitions among other paraphernalia that aid poaching," said Kentice Tikolo, KWS communications chief, in a statement.
"Prospects for more arrests and trophy recoveries are high following an ongoing investigation. The KWS canine unit has been deployed to reinforce the operation," he added.
One of the suspects "is a notorious ivory dealer with a pending court case in Kibera law courts in relation to similar offences of illegal ivory trafficking and trade," he said.
According to the investigations, most of the trophies impounded originate from poaching in various areas of Samburu, Isiolo, Laikipia and Mount Kenya.