• On January 9, five men were arrested in Ntulele, Narok county, while ferrying 32.9 kilos of elephant tusks worth about Sh3 million.
• The five had concealed six pieces of the tusks in a sack of charcoal.
A police officer was at the weekend arrested over claims of trafficking elephant tusks worth Sh2.1 million.
The officer was arrested in Meru town while carrying 21 kilos of the tusks he allegedly intended to sell.
Police and Kenya Wildlife Service officials said they received a tip-off that the officer was selling the tusks. They moved in and found him carrying the tusks.
The officer, who is based in Nairobi, later led the team to another suspect in the area during the Saturday morning operation.
The suspects are expected in court to face charges of possession and trafficking of tusks.
On January 9, five men were arrested in Ntulele, Narok county, while ferrying 32.9 kilos of elephant tusks worth about Sh3 million.
The five had concealed six pieces of the tusks in a sack of charcoal.
They were using two motorcycles to transport the tusks when they were stopped by Kenya Wildlife Service personnel and police.
Police said the men were under interrogation after an initial appearance in court to reveal the source of the tusks.
But it seems they had killed at least three elephants to get the tusks, which they said were to be delivered in Nairobi.
Police said they expected more arrests in the probe.
“The trade in tusks is illegal and everyone should know this. We will investigate further to get all players involved,” police spokesperson Dr Resla Onyango said.
Despite a ban on the international trade in ivory, African elephants are still being poached in large numbers.
As part of efforts to stop the menace, Kenya has started using high-tech surveillance equipment, including drones, to track poachers and keep tabs on elephants and rhinos.
KWS and stakeholders have put in place mechanisms to eradicate all forms of wildlife crime, particularly poaching.
These mechanisms include enhanced community education, interagency collaboration, and intensive intelligence-led operations, among others.
These efforts led to zero rhino poaching in Kenya in 2020-the first time in about two decades.
At least 20,000 elephants are killed annually in Africa for their ivory. This translates to 55 elephants killed daily or one elephant killed every 26 minutes with a population of 35,000 elephants.
On April 30, 2016, Kenya set ablaze 105 tonnes of elephant ivory and 1.35 tonnes of rhino horn.
Former President Uhuru Kenyatta led world leaders and conservationists in burning the remains of 6,500 elephants and 450 rhinos killed for their tusks and horn.
Parliament has also passed strict anti-poaching laws and the government has beefed up security at parks to stop poaching, which threatens the vital tourism industry.
Regionally, Kenya has also emerged as a major transit route for ivory destined for Asian markets from eastern and central Africa.
The illegal ivory trade is mostly fuelled by demand in Asia and the Middle East, where elephant tusks and rhino horn are used to make ornaments and traditional medicines.