Interpol’s ‘Most Wanted’ Ivory Smuggler Finally Arrested In Tanzania


A Kenyan man said to be a notorious smuggler was finally arrested in Tanzania after months on the run, Interpol said.

Feisal Ali, who was listed as Interpol’s most wanted ivory trafficker, was arrested Monday at a rental house in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, officials from the international police agency in Kenya told the Associated Press.

The businessman is believed to be the head of an international ivory smuggling ring, with many of the elephants being wiped out in Kenya and Tanzania. Ali was wanted since June after Kenyan authorities conducting a raid found a quantity of ivory equal to 100 dead elephants, the BBC reported.

At one point Ali was found with 314 pieces of ivory that weighed over two tons

Wildlife advocates say an increased demand for ivory among China’s middle class has fueled elephant poaching in Africa. A partial overturn of an international ban on ivory sales in China is to blame for the demand, which in turn led to a booming market for ivory smuggling, critics say.

Kenya’s Wildlife Service said 142 elephants have been killed by poachers this year. But that pales in comparison to the 10,000 elephants killed in Tanzania last year, according to the BBC.

Ali’s arrest comes during a crackdown on ivory trafficking and the passage of anti-poaching laws, which officials say has helped bring down the number of elephant deaths. About 300 elephants were killed in Kenya last year, down from the 384 killed in 2012, Paul Udoto, spokesman from the Kenya Wildlife Service, told the AP.

African rhinos, poached for their horns, have also been victims of the “rapidly escalating environmental crime wave,” the U.N. Environmental Program said in a report this year.

Another environmentalist group in November accused an entourage traveling with Chinese President Xi Jinping of going on a lavish ivory shopping binge during a trip to Tanzania, according to the BBC. Chinese and Tanzanian officials have denied the charge.