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Kenya Wildlife Service actions to curb illegal international trade in ivory and rhino horn

Date Published: 12 Mar, 2013
Kenya Wildlife Service actions to curb illegal international trade in ivory and rhino horn

Eight countries mentioned regarding global illegal ivory trade at the ongoing 16th Conference of Parties Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) in Bangkok, Thailand include Kenya, Malaysia, China, Phillipines, Thailand, Vietnam, Uganda and United Republic of Tanzania are categorized into three:

  1. Source countries - Kenya, Uganda and United Republic of Tanzania
  2. Transit countries - Kenya, Malaysia, and Philippines
  3. Consumer countries - China, Thailand and Vietnam

Kenya has made a significant number of enforcement efforts with regard to illegal ivory trade over the past year.  The measures which Kenya has put in place to prevent illegal ivory trade include following:

  1. Deployment of sniffer dogs to major exit points, including air and sea ports to detect illegal trafficking of ivory.  This effort has proven to be successful in detecting ivory in illegal trade.  There were several cases of illegal shipments detected by sniffer dogs in 2012 where a shipment of 62 pieces of ivory weighing a total of 255kg, hidden in containers of avocado and sprayed with pepper and tobacco for avoid detection by sniffer dogs.  The consignment was destined for Asia.
  2. Kenya Revenue Authority Customs Department enhancement of surveillance and detection through use of scanners to detect wildlife contraband.  Again this measure has proven successful.
  3.   Intra-agency collaboration efforts in surveillance, proactive intelligence gathering and investigation to detect the criminals.
  4. Strengthening prosecution of wildlife offences, including through the application of several legislations, and backed up by Kenya’s 2010 Constitution.
  5. Increased education and awareness amongst the Judiciary and general public that wildlife trafficking in wildlife and wildlife products is a serious crime, which can be classified as economic crime for illegal trading in ivory and rhino horn.
  6. Collaboration with regional and international partners to strengthen sharing of intelligence information and law enforcement efforts. Important collaboration has led to seizure in Hong Kong SAR of 1,323kg. Another seizure took place in Singapore as a result of intelligence information sharing between Kenya enforcement agencies and INTERPOL.  
  7. Kenya has begun developing the use of forensic technology to fight wildlife crime. This will enhance the ease of specimen identification, DNA analysis and provide credible evidence for effective prosecution.
  8. Kenya undertakes specialised operations to detect and intercept any wildlife contraband and ensure successful prosecution.  Kenya law enforcement agencies have dedicated units working on both local and international operations (such “Operation Okoa Ndovu” Kenya and International “Operation Cobra”) in response to this emerging situation.

Kenya has continued to invest a significant amount of resources into wildlife law enforcement to ensure wildlife crime is reduced to insignificant level, if not totally eliminated as per the attached Action Plan.


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