Standard (Kenya)

By Cyrus Ombati

A Chinese woman was arrested in Nairobi Saturday morning while traveling with 120 kilograms of ivory valued at about Sh10 million.

The woman identified as Cao Juhua, 38 was traveling from Zimbabwe to Hanoi, Vietnam when she was nabbed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Officials manning one of the terminals there stumbled on the ivory as the woman connected flights.

The ivory had been packaged in small boxes and disguised as food. The woman is expected in court Monday morning to face charges of trafficking ivory.

The arrest comes at a time when various agencies are investigating the seizure of ivory weighing 117Kg in Hanoi, Vietnam that occurred in March 2017. The Hanoi seizure was later traced back to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Recent trends show that the far eastern countries continue to present a lucrative market for ivory and other wildlife trophies. More suspects are being sought and further investigations are ongoing.

To counter the rising global ivory smuggling and illegal trade over recent years, China has been taking a series of legal actions and creating inter-agency action mechanism to fight against the crime.

This comes in the wake of campaigns to stop merchants from handling animal trophies. Last week, a businessman was arrested after he was found with animal trophies valued at millions of shillings in Nairobi’s Parklands area.

The suspect had in his possession lion, buffalo, cheetah, hyena, leopard and other wild animal skins at the time of his arrest by officials from DCI and KWS. Police say they are yet to know the source of the skins and efforts to trace the same are ongoing.

Police say there has been an increase in illegal possession of animal trophies despite efforts to tame the trend.