Scholars want Mombasa port made an ivory-free zone, saying this would disrupt the illegal trade.
A four-year study led by Dr Nikkita Patel of the University of Pennsylvania, says Mombasa has become a crucial link between ivory exporters seeking a direct link to China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Cambodia, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
The study, Quantitative Methods of Identifying the Key Nodes in the Illegal Wildlife Trade Network, says Kenya is the preferred transit port country due to its weak criminal justice and public health implications that discourage thorough scrutiny of cargo.
The report appearing in this week’s scientific online journalpnas.org saw the researchers use some methods used in tracking down terrorists where they monitored impounded shipments of ivory, rhino horns and tigers as listed in the wildlife trade database.
We extracted the type of products traded, country of origin and the destination of the product, Dr Patel said.
The report says governments and wildlife stakeholders should be sensitised to ensure information on ways of curbing ivory and rhino horn trade was optimised.
In May 2014, UAE authorities seized 259 pieces of ivory shipped from Mombasa hardly two years after Malaysia impounded 382 whole pieces and 62 cut pieces of ivory weighing of ivory disguised as groundnuts.