Kenya Wildlife Service rangers on Tuesday arrested three suspected poachers and impounded 14 pieces of ivory weighing 58kgs.
Addressing journalists at Chogoria Police Station, Maara OCPD Johnston Kabusia said the three suspects were arrested in a hotel in Chogoria Town, Tharaka-Nithi County, following a tip-off.
He said the rangers wore civilian clothes and posed as customers. They ordered food and drinks and waited for the suspects, who arrived shortly on a motorcycle carrying the luggage.
“We arrested the three men and on inspecting the stuff inside a sack, we realised that it was ivory,” said Mr Kabusia.
Mount Kenya National Park Chogoria section warden, Mr Henry Kirinyet, said the 14 pieces of ivory are valued at Sh5.8 million in the black market.
He said some of the pieces were fresh, indicating that the elephants were killed recently.
“These are seven elephants that have lost lives to poachers,” said Mr Kirinyet.
The warden said it was discouraging that poachers still kill elephants, despite a spirited campaign by the government and NGOs against the crime. He added that the animals take a long time to multiply.
Mr Kirinyet said they have beefed up security in the forest to ensure that no more animals are killed.
He added that they were working on installing tracking gadgets on elephants to monitor them and curb poaching.
Mr Kabusia noted that they were still investigating, with the aim of arresting the intended buyers.
The suspects will be taken to court on Wednesday, he added.