Chinese ‘ivory smugglers’ arrested in Kenya

Kenyan authorities have detained three Chinese nationals at Nairobi international airport, agencies cited officials as saying, after they were found with 36 pieces of ivory.

"The three Chinese nationals — two women and a man — were arrested at the airport in Nairobi while in possession of 2.2 kilogrammes (4.8 pounds) of ivory," AFP quoted Gichuki Kabukuru, a Kenya Wildlife Service spokesman, as saying. "Since they did not have a permit, we take it as smuggling of ivory."

China won permission on Tuesday to bid for up to 108 tonnes of elephant ivory that will be offered for sale by the southern African countries of Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. A meeting of the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) decided that China has sufficient measures in place to ensure that its ivory sales will be regulated and legal.

Poaching slashed Kenya’s elephant population from nearly 50,000 in 1965, to about 10,600 in the early 1990s, reports said. But Conservation efforts and anti-poaching measures have seen numbers climb back up to around 30,000 today.

See full story