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Foreigner nabbed at airport with wildlife products

Bernard Gitau @benagitau

A Vietnamese was yesterday arrested at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) for illegally  being in possession of warthog teeth, lion claws and teeth.

The wildlife products were concealed inside a thermos flask wrapped with foil paper in checked-in luggage, to pass undetected.

According to the police report, the suspect, identified as Truong Trung Hieu, had eight lion canine teeth, three lion claws, and two warthog teeth.

Trung who was on transit from Liberia on KQ 505 to Bangkok on KQ 886 via JKIA will be arraigned in court today.

The arrest comes days after Kenya’s conservation efforts got a boost from the United Nations  which approved its exit from a group of countries with global concern on wildlife trafficking.

The exit was approved by the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cities) Standing Committee in Sochi, by Parties to the Standing Committee during the 70th meeting.

Meanwhile, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has driven back at least 52 marauding elephants that had invaded Kiteje and Mbuguni villages in Matuga sub-county in Kwale back to their sanctuary.

The rogue jumbos which had strayed from the Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary over the weekend roamed in the villages causing panic and imposing a dusk-to-dawn curfew and destroying crops.

Ground operation

County Community Warden Edward Karanja said KWS rangers mounted ground operations to herd back the animals to the community-owned sanctuary.

“I can confirm  the task to drive back the herd of elephants went on without any hitch and normalcy has returned to the affected villages,” he said.

He said their officers are still on the ground identifying invaded farms and assessing crop damage.

Karanja said the animals had followed a traditional migration route and corridor in search of pasture, hence raiding the two adjacent settlements.

He urged residents to be on the lookout for rogue animals and promptly report for action by the KWS problem animal control unit.

Cases of human-wildlife conflict are a common occurrence in the county with far-reaching consequences including massive crop destruction, injuries and even deaths.

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