AFRICANGLOBE – A Chinese is involved in every seizure of ivory in Kenya and other countries in Africa.
A new report adds that Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi and Port of Mombasa are major conduits for illegal ivory that drives the multi-million-dollar global trade.
The report was released by wildlife charity -BornFree USA and says that a Chinese is always a trafficker.
The Out of Africa: Mapping the Global Trade in Illicit Elephant Ivory report warns that allowing the ivory and wildlife trafficking networks to flourish created a high degree of convergence with other forms of organised criminal activity such as gun-running and sale of narcotic drugs.
“Ivory traffickers do not necessarily run guns or narcotics themselves, but they rely on and help enrich the facilitators who are interwoven into the systems that enable terrorist financing, drugs, weapons, and human trafficking,” says the ground-breaking report.
The document traces the ivory supply chain and trafficking from the African bush to retail markets, thousands of miles away in Asia.
“A large majority of all of the illegal ivory is accounted for within a small number of transactions passing through three ports of Mombasa in Kenya; Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar in Tanzania as well through Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Johannesburg (South Africa) and Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa airport,” it says.
The illegal ivory trade is currently operating at its highest level since the 1989 commercial ivory trade ban was imposed.
The investigations also revealed that between 2009 and June 2014, there were more than 90 large-scale ivory seizures, collectively weighing almost 170 tonnes that bear the hallmarks of international organised crime.
East Asian nationals and in particular, the Chinese, are cited as the masterminds of the modern ivory trade.
Chinese At Every Point
“The scale we found in our investigation was shocking. Chinese traffickers are present in virtually every single African range state and operate at nearly every point along the ivory supply chain,” said the charity’s chief executive officer, Mr Adam Roberts in a statement accompanying the report.
The four-month investigations, conducted by the Centre for Advanced Defense Studies found that while the ivory trade thrived globally, governments still treated it like an unprofessional, disorganised, and artisanal industry, of concern only to conservationists.
“But in reality, it is a highly organised global crime that has avoided consequence for decades. I dare say, there may be as few as 100 large-scale ivory containers moving annually that drive the vast majority of the entire illegal trade,” said Centre for Advanced Defense Studies’ chief of analysis, Mr. Varun Vira, who authored the report alongside Mr. Jackson Miller and Mr. Thomas Ewing.
The report calls on Kenya and other nations to focus on intercepting the containers.