Kenya recovers 249 kg of ivory from poachers

Sun Jan 9, 2011 5:27am EST
 
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ISIOLO, Kenya (Reuters) - Kenya has recovered 81 elephant tusks in the northern part of the country where it is trying to contain a new wave of poaching, officials said on Saturday.

Weighing 249 kg and valued at 2.5 million shillings ($30,830), the tusks and two rhino horns were recovered by a special team of rangers from the Kenya Wildlife Service and detectives in a Friday night operation.

Security officials said six rounds of ammunition, two pairs of night vision binoculars, two jungle rangers' uniforms and a rifle scope were recovered from three people who were arrested.

Senior Warden Aggrey Maumo, who was involved in the operation said nine rhinos have been killed in the region over the past one year.

"At least 20 rhinos were killed across the country since early last year. Northern Kenya reported the highest incidents because poachers killed nine rhinos and a huge number of elephant herds over the past year but we had a breakthrough yesterday and managed to recover this consignment," Maumo said.

The regional administrator for Marsabit district David Rotich said a number of former Ethiopian rebel group Oromo Liberation Front fighters were engaged in poaching of elephants, adding that the government has reinforced security officers around Mountain Marsabit to protect animals.

Kenya's wildlife, which draws tourists from around the world has suffered from poaching, severe drought and floods in recent years.

(Reporting by Noor Ali)

 
<p>A Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officer stands guard near a shipment of elephant tusks and rhino horns intercepted at the Jomo Kenyatta international airport in the capital Nairobi, August 23, 2010. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya</p>