The state should order the immediate investigation and prosecution of officials found responsible for transiting ivory seized in Thailand and Singapore, WildlifeDirect has said.
President Uhuru Kenyatta was further asked to order a national stocktake of all ivory and rhino horn before it is destroyed, and a clear and specific storage system during trials.
“Declare elephants a national heritage and offer protection for the few remaining big tuskers,” WildlifeDirect chairman Philip Murgor and CEO Paula Kahumbu further said in a joint statement on Tuesday.
Their recommendations follow the seizure of 3.7 tonnes of ivory and other exotic animal parts by Singapore authorities on Tuesday.
Authorities uncovered 1,783 pieces of raw ivory tusks, four pieces of rhino horn and 22 teeth believed to be from African big cats – cheetahs and leopards.
They were were stashed among bags of tea leaves in two 20-foot containers, and were in transit through Singapore to Vietnam.
The consignment, worth an estimated $6 million (Sh579 million) which was shipped from the port of Mombasa was seized through coordinated efforts between Kenya and Singapore.
It is the second largest seizure of illegal ivory since 2002 and is with the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore for further investigations.
“It is of great concern that ivory consignments of this size can leave the country twice without detection by any government department,” Murgor and Kahumbu said.
“There is evidence that has linked cartels involved in ivory trafficking to drugs, human trafficking and even terrorism. It is worrying that Kenyan authorities do not seem to treat ivory trafficking as a major security concern.”
On April 25, Thailand’s customs department seized 511 elephant tusks that had been declared at the customs office as 11 tonnes of tea leaves from Kenya destined for Laos.
“For a second consignment of this size to have left the port of Mombasa and be seized in a foreign country in less than a month is of great concern and highly embarrassing to our country,” the WildlifeDirect officials said.
They accused the state enacting punitive laws against wildlife criminals without consistently taking action against officials tainting the image of the Port of Mombasa.
“The seizures are a testament to the lack of coordination or complicity of the different arms of government that should have detected the ivory and taken action,” they said.