Black Market Murder

January 16

An estimated two tons of ivory was discovered by Kenyan authorities in a shipping container in the port of Mombasa. The more than 600 pieces are worth an estimated US $1.5 m.

As with most ivory in the escalating black market trade, the consignment was destined for Indonesia. It is believed to have come from Rwanda and Tanzania, cementing East Africa’s reputation as a clearing house for the illegal ivory trade. 


The January 16 seizure alone represents the death of roughly 250 elephants.

“Decorating stones.” (Photo: Reuters)

January 4th

A routine x-ray scan by Hong Kong customs agents of a shipping container said to contain “decorating stones” revealed 779 ivory tusks weighing more than a thousand kilos and valued at more $1.4 million. The seizure comes on the same day that poachers in Kenya, killed a family of 11 elephants in the biggest single mass shooting of the animals on record in the country.

Hong Kong January 4. (Photo: AP)

Smuggled by sea from Kenya via Malaysia, hidden in five wooden crates under valueless rocks, the tusks were the third largest seizure in Hong Kong in just three months.

October 2012

A joint operation involving Hong Kong and Guangdong customs officials in Hong Kong, resulted in the seizure of nearly 4 tons of ivory discovered inside two containers shipped from Tanzania and Kenya.

Hong Kong: 1,209 pieces of ivory tusks and 1.4 kilograms of ivory ornaments.

September 2012

Two suspects were arrested and 317 pieces of raw elephant ivory, weighing 2 tons, and five rhino horns were seized at Nairobi Airport. Investigations are continuing over the source and sender and recipient of the illegal cargo, which had been disguised as avocado fruits.

KWS rangers and officers display ivory seized at the Jommo Kenyatta International Airport. The cargo was destined for Malaysia through Dubai by Emirates airline.

Insatiable Asian demand

continues to drive brutal elephant poaching. Most fingers are pointed at China. The international trade in elephant ivory, with rare exceptions, has been outlawed since 1989 after elephant populations in Africa dropped from millions in the mid-20th century to some 600,000 by the end of the 1980s.

Victims of Sudanese Jangaweed.

Victims of Sudanese Jangaweed.

Ivory trade was banned in 1989 under CITES,


Born Free Foundation has launched a website that offers the latest news about the illegal ivory trade.