48 kg ivory seized in Kenyan anti−poaching drive

Last Updated: Wed, Nov 21, 2012 02:50 hrs

Nairobi, Nov 21 (IANS) Kenya's wildlife authorities said they have seized 48 kg of ivory, and nabbed 46 suspected poachers from across the country in anti−poaching operations in the past week.

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said over 700 rounds of ammunition have been seized, Xinhua reported.

The east African nation is among many countries where poaching is rampant despite it being outlawed in the country in 1977.

Poachers especially target rhinos and elephants for their tusks and skins, and sell them in the black market in Asia.

Kenya, a popular destination for tourists from Europe, is known for its great variety of wildlife, which includes elephants, giraffes, wildebeests, lions, cheetah and leopards.

A conservation group, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), recently raised concerns that East African countries are gaining a damaging reputation for the illegal ivory trade.

IFAW Regional Director for Eastern Africa James Isiche said law enforcement authorities have to stamp out poaching and seal off ivory trafficking routes.

"In the past five years, elephant poaching in Kenya and other African countries has risen to unprecedented levels while the trend of ivory seizures globally in the last two years has been ominous," Isiche said.

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