The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) on Thursday arraigns in court a suspected ivory dealer after being arrested in Nairobi with a 30 kg briefcase full of ivory.
KWS officials said the middle aged man who was arrested in Nairobi on Wednesday will be charged for being in possession of ivory. His two accomplices however managed to escape.
"The three were walking when the officers pounced on them after a tip-off from members of the public. Two of the suspects took to their heels leaving behind one of them carrying the worked ivory stashed in a suitcase," the KWS said in a statement.
The statement said the suspect was remanded at the police station and is set to appear in court later Thursday. He is facing three counts of being in possession of illegal government trophy, dealing with ivory without permit and failing to make a report to authorities for being in possession of government trophy.
"The suspect and his accomplices are believed to have been looking for market for the ivory before KWS officers confronted them," the wildlife agency said.
The alarm comes amid rampant cases of poaching in the East African nation which comes at a time when reports indicate that 380 elephants are being killed in Kenya annually.
Kenya has been identified as one of the leading transit routes for smuggling ivory out of Africa, with several incidents of ivory seizures and recovery of wildlife carcasses in recent days.
The KWS estimates that more than eight tonnes of raw and worked ivory have been seized since 2009. The demand for ivory in the Far East has attracted criminal cartels to Kenya, who are feeding the insatiable demand.
The government has teamed up with conservationists to launch "Hands Off Our Elephants" initiative in local and international media in an effort that calls on Kenyans, Africans and people around the world to preserve the now endangered African elephant and stop the bloody ivory trade. Statistics from the KWS show that 3 percent of overall wildlife tourism earnings are now being redirected to the treatment of wounded elephants and catering for orphaned calves.