, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 4 – A new report released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime indicates that 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 have derailed spirited efforts to curb the menace.
The programme manager for the Threat Assessment for Eastern Africa (TOCTA) Gerhard Van Rooyen however says the Kenyan government has made major efforts compared to the rest of East African countries.
“Compared to the rest of East African countries, the Jubilee government has really tried to address the issue though a lot needs to be done,” he observed.
The report indicates that there are approximately 140,000 elephants in Eastern Africa today which is about one-third of the continental population.
“An estimated 73 percent of these are located in the United Republic of Tanzania and adding into the population is Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda,” it states.
“These four countries are the source of most of the illicit ivory harvested in the region.”
It says that Eastern Africa is seen as an important source of ivory, “but even more as a transit area.”
“In fact, the majority of the recent large seizures of illicit ivory made anywhere in the world were exported from either Kenya or Tanzania, largely through the big container ports in Mombasa and Dar-es-Salaam.”
Reacting on the report, TOCTA lead researcher Joanna Wright said, “The African Elephant is not currently deemed ‘endangered’ as a species, but its decimation in Eastern Africa is devastating.”
“Its loss could seriously undermine local tourist revenues, a key source of foreign exchange for many of the countries of the region,” she pointed out.
In Kenya, two wildlife rangers have been killed this year and a 100 are killed around Africa per year.
The report indicates that four rhinos were poached in April 2012 alone in Kenya.
The report also noted that the Kenyan government has played a major role in the fight against piracy across the Indian Ocean coast.
“Kenya was the first country that committed itself to deal with terrorism,” it noted.
“Kenya is also a key player in addressing transitional organised crime within the region of Eastern Africa.”
Drug trafficking was also seen as a major problem within the Eastern Africa region.
“Heroin has been trafficked to and through Eastern Africa since at least the 1980s, but a series of recent large seizures suggests that this flow has increased,” read the report.
However the reports noted that most of drugs coming to Eastern Africa are used elsewhere.