Also from the October 2009 cleft stcik:
Kenya, Ethiopia authorities seize ivory stash
KATHARINE HOURELD, Associated Press, October 1, 2009
NAIROBI, Kenya — Authorities in Ethiopia and Kenya have seized more than 2,600 pounds (1,200 kilograms) of bloodstained ivory from about 100 illegally killed elephants at airports, the head of Kenya's Wildlife Service said Wednesday.
Julius Kipng'etich said trained dogs sniffed out a consignment of bloodstained tusks at Kenya's national airport late Tuesday. Another shipment of tusks sent by the same individual had been seized Monday at the airport in Ethiopia's capital.
Both shipments were sent as unaccompanied luggage to Bangkok. Police have launched an investigation and wildlife officials said they will continue to patrol the airport with dogs.
Elephants develop strong social bonds and can even identify family members by their bones, which individuals may return to several times over the years. Kipng'etich said he had seen groups of elephants standing around a dead family member and making a distinctive sound.
"It is as if they are crying: Please don't wear ivory. Please leave it to the elephants for heaven's sake," he said.
Ivory trade was banned internationally in 1989 because of its devastating effect on elephant populations. Before the ban was enacted, Kenya's elephant population plummeted from 120,000 elephants in 1963 to just 12,000 a few decades later.
But after authorities realized elephants' role in boosting tourism — one of Kenya's top foreign exchange earners — they clamped down on the poachers.
The ban and subsequent enforcement slowed poaching dramatically, but in recent years it has begun to creep up, from 47 elephants killed in 2007 to 98 in 2008. So far this year, 125 already have been killed. Kipng'etich blames the decision by signatories to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species to allow the periodic sale of confiscated ivory stockpiles to raise money for conservation.
The most recent authorized sale was in 2007, when China and Japan were both allowed to buy the stockpiled ivory from Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Although Kenya was not included in the auction, Kipng'etich said he believes it fueled demand for illegal ivory.
Iain Douglas-Hamilton, who heads the conservation group Save the Elephants, said the airport seizures were a "tremendous coup" for the Kenya Wildlife Service.
"If this proves to be native Kenyan ivory rather than ivory in transit, it's a serious confirmation of poaching on the rise in Kenya," he said.
Until the problem is stamped out, the Wildlife Service will continue to patrol the airports with dogs like Charles, the black-haired star of Tuesday night's bust. He's sniffed out more than 2,200 pounds (1,000 kilograms) of ivory during his nine-year career.
"This is the real hero," said Kipng'etich, giving Charles a pat.
Kenya seizes massive ivory haul
BBC News, September 30, 2009
The price of ivory has shot up and can fetch more than $1,000 per kg
Kenyan authorities have seized almost 700kg of ivory worth millions of dollars in a night-time raid at the country's main airport.
The Kenya Wildlife Service says a similar amount was intercepted in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. Both consignments - with a potential value of more than $1.5m (£938,000) - were reportedly headed for Thailand.
The BBC's Will Ross in Nairobi says poaching is on the increase mostly owing to high demand for ivory in Asia.
Our reporter says it is not yet clear whether the ivory, recovered at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta Airport, had been trafficked from other parts of the continent or was from East Africa.
Twenty years ago the world's elephant population was plummeting and the trade in ivory was banned. But over the past decade the ban has been periodically relaxed and occasional supervised ivory auctions have been allowed.
Officials say the sales have fuelled demand for ivory in Asian countries, especially China, contributing to a sharp increase in elephant poaching.
So far this year poachers in Kenya have killed 128 elephants for their ivory; last year 98 were killed. In July, Kenyan authorities intercepted 16 elephant tusks and two rhinoceros horns being illegally exported to Laos from Mozambique.
Some wildlife experts have attributed the increase in elephant poaching to the presence of Chinese workers in Africa.
With demand for ivory products increasing back home, some Chinese workers on low salaries in Kenya are reported to have become middlemen in the ivory trade.
And because of the high demand for ivory across Asia, the price of ivory has shot up and can fetch more than $1,000 a kilo.
U.S.$4,500 Ivory Lands Five in Court (Zimbabwe)The Herald, 1 October 2009
Harare — Five Harare men who were allegedly found in possession of 30,8 kilogrammes of ivory worth more than $4 500 yesterday appeared at the Harare Magistrates' Court on charges of contravening provisions of the Parks and Wildlife Act.
One of the men, Tapiwa Mupindu (29), pleaded guilty to the charges when he appeared before magistrate Ms Tendai Rusinahama, who remanded him out of custody on US$50 bail to tomorrow for sentence.
The other four Tarisai Mashonganyika (26), Obert Rusere (29), Angels Marozva (29) and Edmore Jaure (21) pleaded not guilty to the charges.
They were all remanded out of custody on US$50 each to October 13 for trial. Ms Rusinahama ordered them to reside at their given addresses, not to interfere with State witnesses and to report once every week at Harare Central Police Station.
Prosecutor Miss Memory Mukapa alleged that on September 22 this year, a team of detectives from CID Minerals Unit in Harare received information that the gang was illegally dealing in ivory in Warren Park. It is alleged that the detectives met Mashonganyika in town where one of them posed as a buyer. He got convinced with the deal and led the detectives to the Army Ordinance where Rusere works.
Rusere called Marozva who later led the detectives to Mupindu and Jaura's house in Warren Park were the ivory was kept, it is alleged.
The State further alleged that upon arrival, Mupindu and Jaura went into their bedrooms and brought out two pieces of elephant tusks each.
Upon seeing the tusks, Mupindu allegedly demanded the cash and was immediately arrested.
It is further alleged that Mupindu later led the detectives to Hurungwe's Chiundu area where a .303 rifle that was used to kill the elephants was recovered.
Police in Kenya seize Bangkok-bound ivory
Agence France Presse, September 20, 2009
NAIROBI — Kenya police are looking for the people behind a shipment of 684 kilogrammes of ivory seized at Nairobi's main airport and destined to Bangkok, a police official said Wednesday.
The elephant tusks were discovered at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Tuesday during a nighttime cargo inspection.
"The consignment was intercepted as it was about to be transported out of the country. No person has been arrested," said the official on condition of anonymity.
"We are now looking for the owners or people who were transporting it," he added. "We know it was headed for Bangkok, but we want to know the exact destination and the people who were going to receive it."
Kenya Wildlife Service spokeswoman Kentice Tikolo confirmed the seizure.
In July, authorities intercepted 16 elephant tusks and two rhino horns being illegally exported to Laos from Mozambique.
Kenya outlawed poaching and the reckless slaughter of wildlife in 1977, but allowed controlled culling and harvesting of game meat. In 2003 conservationists managed to have the activity banned completely.
But poaching for elephant and rhino tusks has been on the rise in Africa since the partial lifting in 2007 of an international trade ban to allow a one-off ivory sale to China and Japan by Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
Convenor of the AIKONA Group.
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
Done 142 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.