By Antony Langat
Nairobi — THE port of Mombasa and the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport are among the major points of exit for the illegal trade in ivory in the region.
The unenviable status is according to a groundbreaking report that has been released.
The report, "Out of Africa: Mapping the Global Trade in Illicit Elephant Ivory," released Born Free USA and C4ADS focuses on the ivory supply chain and the trafficking of ivory from the bush in Africa to retail markets tens of thousands of miles away in Asia.
"Just the three ports of Mombasa, Dar es Salaam, and Zanzibar in Kenya and Tanzania exit the majority of shipments, pointing to the need for more carefully-targeted enforcement efforts," stated the report.
Apart from ports, the report also named the airport in Nairobi airport as one of the exit points of the ivory shipments.
"The top three airports in the chain are in Nairobi, Addis Ababa, and Johannesburg," stated the researchers.
The report also placed focus on the kind of profits that poachers get from the illicit trade in ivory.
"Traffickers able to operate from the forest to the market can earn more than 2,500 percent in profit margins," reads the report.
According to Adam Roberts, Chief Executive Officer of Born Free USA, the ivory trade is operating today at the highest level since the ban on commercial ivory trade in 1989.
"Our investigation reveals that between 2009 and June 2014, there were more than 90 large-scale ivory seizures, collectively weighing almost 170 tons that bear the hallmarks of international organized crime. This would amount to approximately 229 729 elephants killed and trafficked in fewer than six years," he said.
The report comes four months after another report by the same organization entitled, "Ivory's Curse: The Militarization and Professionalization of Poaching in Africa."
It detailed the poaching crisis and its links to violent militias, organized crime and government corruption.