On Friday (11 July) the Government of Kenya raised 5 million shillings (300,000 pounds sterling) at the public auction of 27 tonnes of ivory, rhino horn and hippo teeth.
On Friday (11 July) the Government of Kenya raised 5 million shillings (300,000 pounds sterling) at the public auction of 27 tonnes of ivory, rhino horn and hippo teeth. The unusual auction, in Mombasa, was the first move by the government to tighten up its export controls on the unusual items since it assumed control of ivory exports last August.
Only dealers committed to exporting the products were permitted to bid. The Government expects that by selling the trophies and getting them out of the country, it will be easier for it to control illegal exports.
In all, there were 5,921 pieces of ivory on sale, weighing 27,556 killogrammes (60,623 pounds). Conservationists are happy that the Government is moving against the illegal export of ivory because poachers are posing a serious threat to the continued existence of elephant herds in the country.
There may be as many as 130,000 elephants in Kenya and conservationists estimate they could be wiped out in ten years at the present ??? of killing. In spite of a ban on elephant hunting, poaching for illegal export has been flourishing.
Controlling the poaching has proved difficult, partly because Kenya's vast game preserves would require an army of game wardens to effectively patrol them.
Prices paid ??? the auction for the ivory reflect depressed prices of the world market. Mombasa's deputy game warden said he was disappointed that the highest-priced piece drew only 260 shillings (15 pounds sterling) per kilo. The rhino horns drew 700 shilling (41 pounds sterling) per kilo.
SYNOPSIS: The elephants of Kenya.....fighting a losing battle against poachers and the spread of civilisation. There may be as many as one hundred and thirty thousand of the giant beasts in Kenya....but conservationist predict that at their present death rate, they could be extinct in ten years. Despite a law against killing elephants, there are poachers and dealers willing to risk jail to get their ivory tusks. The vast preserves are difficult to police....so the Government has taken another approach as well. Last year it announced it was bringing all ivory exporting order its control.
As part of that plan the Game Department held an auction here in Mombasa on Friday to clear private stocks out of the country.
Six thousand pieces of ivory were auctioned off.. Some Rhino horns and hippo teeth were thrown in as well. In all, twenty-seven tonnes of hunting trophies. It's believed by the Government that when these private stocks are sold off and exported, it will be easier for the Government to tighten its control. It's hoped this will dry up the number of potential buyers for illegally poached ivory. Only dealers committed to exporting the ivory were allowed to put in bids. Even though ivory prices are depressed on the world market, there were plenty of buyers.
The game Department was disappointed that the top price offered for the ivory was only fifteen pounds sterling a kilogram....but considers that a reflection of depressed world prices. No such problems with the rhino horns, however. Bidders paid as much as forty-one pounds sterling for one kilo of those. Nevertheless, the auction -- the first held under the Government's auspices -- eventually drew in three-hundred thousand pounds sterling....more than twice as much as expected.
The Kenyan Government will retain custody of the ivory until arrangements have been made for its export.