On Tuesday 30 May 2023, two men were arrested for possession of 52 kilograms of elephant tusks valued at Sh5.3 million. The tusks were recovered during an operation in Nyeri Town. Police with the Kenya Wildlife Service ambushed them as they were trying to sell the tusks to a potential buyer.
Police have been trying to establish the source of the ten pieces of ivory, some of which seem to be a few days old. The two are expected to show up in court on 31 May 2023 to face charges of possession of a wildlife trophy Contrary to Section 93(4) of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act of 2013.
This is not the only case since there have been ongoing operations targeting poaching in the country. On May 24th 2023, elephant tusks weighing over 110 kilograms were recovered in Laikipia County and one suspect was arrested. The 47-year-old man was arrested at Sipili area in Kirima Sub-County after a vehicle ferrying the tusks was intercepted. The suspected ivory smuggler was arrested in possession of the 23 elephant tusks.
Elephant tusks fetch a fortune in the black market. Officials say despite a ban on the international trade in ivory, African elephants are still being poached in large numbers. Kenya has started using high-tech surveillance equipment, including drones, to track poachers and keep tabs on elephants and rhinos as part of efforts to stop this menace.
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.