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Kenya Ivory, Rhino Horn Seizure Tops 660 Pounds

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NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenya seized more than 300 kilograms (660 pounds) of illegal ivory and black rhinoceros horn – some of it still bloody – on a cargo plane headed to Asia on Tuesday, wildlife officials said.

The blood on some of the 16 elephant tusks and two rhino horns suggested the animals had been killed recently, said Patrick Omondi of the biodiversity and research division of the Kenya Wildlife Service.

The contraband was hidden in wooden boxes shaped like coffins.

The flight originated in Mozambique and stopped in Nairobi en route to Thailand and finally Laos. It was not clear where the items came from; Omondi said they could have been smuggled into Mozambique from Tanzania or South Africa.

Poaching elephants and black rhinos is illegal. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species banned trade in ivory in 1989 after a wholesale slaughter of African elephants by poachers in the 1970s and 1980s.

But some countries have done little to enforce the ban.

The black rhino is only found in eastern and southern Africa.

Rampant poaching decimated the black rhino population from a high of 65,000 across Africa in the 1970s. Southern Africa now has a population of 3,600 black rhinos.

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