Tanzanian authorities have found at least 1800kg of ivory at a home of Chinese nationals in Dar es Salam Mikocheni area. The haul is still being counted and could increase. So far 706 pieces of ivory have been counted representing over 200 elephant deaths. The ivory storehouse was discovered yesterday from information gained from the recent anti-poaching operation in the country.
Three Chinese national live at the address – Che Jinzhan, Xu Fujie and Huang Qin – and apart from the ivory the authorities also discovered special weighing equipment and a specially converted Noah minibus which was used to transport ivory and elephant tusks. The minibus also had two different number plates with one set being used for legitimate daytime business and the second set being used for the illegal transport of the tusks.
The Chinese had hidden the ivory among snail shells that had been filled with garlic to try and hide the tusks from discovery.
The Chinese claim that the ivory had nothing to do with them and that they only operate the garlic snail business. They claim that friends were the operators of the ivory smuggling business and would leave the ivory at their homes overnight for storage. No names have yet been given for the friends.
Media were invited to the house during the search and count by authorities to show the benefits of the Operation Tokomeza in protecting elephants following increasing concerns that innocent people are being targeted while those at the top of the elephant poaching chain go free.