Kenyan authorities seized 727 pieces of ivory in a container at the main port of Mombasa in one of the largest hauls of tusks in recent years, officials said Thursday.
“We had a suspicion of the contents, and that is why we invited the Kenya Wildlife Service, opened the container and we have elephant tusks,” said Kenya Revenue Authority Deputy Commissioner Rose Gachiri.
“We have embarked on an investigation to establish the source,” she added.
The items were wrapped in plastic bags in a container which documents said was destined for Dubai.
Wildlife officials said the ivory could have come from more than 100 elephants, and that tests will be conducted to determine its origin.
The illegal trade in ivory is fuelled by demand in Asia and the Middle East where elephant tusks and rhinoceros horns are used to make ornaments and traditional medicines.
Africa is home to an estimated 472,000 elephants whose survival is threatened by poaching and illegal trade in game trophies, as well as rising population causing habitat loss.