Kenya seizes 1,600 pieces of ivory

Oct 08, 2013, 11:47 AM EDT
AFP/ Getty

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenyan officials are counting and weighing more than 1,600 pieces of illegal ivory found hidden inside bags of sesame seeds in freight traveling from Uganda to Kenya's major port city, Mombasa.

Kenya Wildlife Service official Arthur Tuda said Tuesday that smugglers hid small pieces of ivory inside hundreds of 90-kilogram (200-pound) bags of seeds. Tuda said officials have found 1,642 ivory pieces weighing nearly 5 tons in two shipping containers bound for Turkey.

Tuda said the seized ivory, discovered by officials last week, did not come from recent kills. He said no suspects were in custody.

Wildlife officials are alarmed at the increasing number of African elephants and rhinos being killed to feed demand in Asia, particularly China, for ivory and rhino horn powder.