Inside Tanzania’s Ivory Room

Conflict In Context - Field Notes

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A stolen peek inside the Ivory Room.
A stolen peek inside the Ivory Room.

NOTES from visit – The red antique scale probably older than the tusks it weighs.
A foot long tusk labeled ‘CITES 0090009 KILIMANJARO – 4/10’ belonged to a sub-adult elephant, probably five or six years old. Tiny for the Kilimanjaro region once known for its mature bulls sporting ivories the size of playground slides. But those tuskers disappeared ages ago – or are very rare.
Near the entrance two behemoth sized tusks are propped upright and displayed like trophies. One tusk marked 240 cm (94 inches) weighs 62 kg (136 lbs).
These tusks are among thousands stacked like firewood and shoved on shelves in cheap wire cages and labeled according to region – Singida. Tanga. Morogoro. Dodoma. Kilimanjaro, to name a few.
On the floor at the foot of cages lay a dozen or so piles of unmarked tusks. The Tanzanian Wildlife Department official, leisurely clad in jeans, said the unmarked tusks had been waiting catalogued and entered into the Department’s database.  The warehouse measured about 1,000 square feet or about the size of a single-engine airplane hangar, and piling up since 1989 when Tanzania stopped importing ivory. The weight of the registered government-owned stockpile totals 137, 229. 20 kg. [[[confirm if unknown tusks are also registered]]


Mugie Ranch, elephant move.
Mugie Ranch, elephant move.

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) moved a bull elephant not to protect it from poachers, but because the beast uprooted fence posts to raid crops belonging to neighboring farmers.  Rangers trucked the bull inside this massive crate from Mugie Ranch to the Aberdare Range, near Mt Kenya.



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