NAIROBI, Kenya, August 15 – A Frenchwoman will be arraigned in court Thursday morning after she was arrested Wednesday night at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in possession of an ivory bangle weighing 0.85 grams.
Detectives said, “she was transiting JKIA to Dzaoudzi Island.”
JKIA was the first in Africa to sign the United Buckingham Palace Declaration, an international initiative that commits players in the international transport supply chain to collaborate in the fight against wildlife trafficking.
Through a partnership between Kenya Wildlife Service and Kenya Airports Authority, JKIA, East Africa’s largest airport, is equipped with canine units trained to detect wildlife products in passenger baggage and cargo.
The country has heightened its surveillance across the country to ensure the endangered species don’t become extinct.
Kenya’s national elephant population is estimated to be 35,000 having increased by 119 percent over a period of 30 years from 16,000 elephants in 1989.
While cases of poaching have drastically reduced, largely due to concerted efforts by government and conservationists, with the introduction of hefty fines introduced across the world, the menace has not been eliminated.
Elephants in the Mara ecosystem for instance have increased from 1,000 in 1983 to 2,493 in 2018 translating to an increase of 149 percent in 35 years.
In the Maasai Mara ecosystem a total of 61 elephants died in 2018, 23 of mortalities being as a result of natural causes, 10 were due to human-elephant conflict, 4 were poaching while 24 died from, “causes that were not immediately established since the carcasses were detected when they were petrified and extensively scavenged,” according to the Kenya Wildlife Service.
In 1989, President Daniel Arap Moi ignited twelve tons of elephant tusks, in a revolutionary gesture to persuade the world to halt the ivory trade.
Over 100 tonnes of ivory and Rhino horns were burnt down in 2016 in yet another firm message against anti-poaching.
“Kenya is making a statement that for us ivory is worthless unless it is on our elephants,” President Uhuru Kenyatta said then.