Kenyan customs officers have seized almost four tonnes of elephant ivory in two separate shipments, officials said Wednesday, amid a surge in poaching of the threatened animals.
One haul of ivory weighing some 1,900 kilogrammes (4,200 pounds) was discovered Friday at the Indian Ocean port city of Mombasa, hidden under bags of sesame seeds, said Kenya Revenue Authority official Fatma Yusuf.
On Tuesday, a further two tonnes (4,400 pounds) of ivory was discovered in another container disguised in a similar manner, with both shipments bound for Turkey.
The seizures are the latest of several giant hauls discovered, representing the massacre of scores -- if not hundreds -- of elephants.
In addition, over 500 kilogrammes (1,100 pounds) of pangolin scales -- meaning potentially dozens of the threatened scaly anteaters were hunted -- for use in traditional medicine and as fashion accessories in Asia.
As in other parts of Africa, poaching of elephants -- as well as rhinos and other animals -- has risen sharply in Kenya in recent years. Whole herds of elephants have been massacred for their ivory.
In July, over four tonnes were seized in two shipments, one hidden beneath peanuts and the other mixed in with stinking dried fish, with both destined for Malaysia. More....