Kenyans make huge ivory haul

By Daily Maverick Legacy 2 October 2009

There have long been rumblings about a new imperialism in Africa, with China as “public enemy no. 1”. The Chinese are on an unprecedented infrastructure-building campaign across the Dark Continent in exchange for mineral concessions and other business rewards. But the rumblings are now coming from within, rather than from older colonial powers in Europe who fear they are losing out. The fairly recent African policy of looking East has brought a new set of problems, not least a spike in poaching due to high demand for ivory in Asia. Now Kenyan authorities have seized almost 700kg of ivory worth millions at the country's international airport, with a similar amount having been found in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. Ivory is still widely used in oriental medicines and artistic carvings, and this consignment was reportedly headed for Thailand. But Kenyan officials told the BBC that legal ivory sales have fuelled demand in Asian countries, especially China. Poachers in Kenya have killed 128 elephants for their ivory so far this year, compared with 98 elephants last year.

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