By Cyrus Ombati
Chinese expatriates working in the region have been accused of being behind illicit ivory trade.
A UN report on drugs and human trafficking says Thailand and China remain two of the most important destinations.
“Expatriate Chinese resident in Eastern Africa comprise some of the most important middlemen. Although they have taken measures to address the illicit trade, Thailand and China remain two of the most important destinations,” says part of the report.
The report titled Transnational Organised Crime in Eastern Africa: a Threat Assessment, was launched yesterday in Nairobi by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Apart from ivory, the report focused on migrant smuggling from Somalia and Ethiopia, heroin trafficking from South-West Asia to Eastern Africa and Somalia maritime piracy.
The report says demand for ivory in Asia has fuelled poaching in the region, undermining sustainability of local elephant population.
Kenya and Tanzania are the main transit points of the ivory and act as sources.
Between 2009 and 2011, Tanzania accounted for 37 per cent of global recovered ivory, Kenya had 27 per cent, Uganda three per cent, South Africa 10 per cent and West Africa four per cent.
The report says between 5,600 and 15,400 elephants are poached in the region annually, producing between 54 and 154 metric tonnes of the illicit ivory. More....