Two Arrested with 600 Kilos of Sandalwood in Isiolo

sandalwood in isiolo
Sandalwood Seized in Isiolo.

Two people were Tuesday arrested while transporting more than 600 kilograms of endangered sandalwood in Isiolo.

The two were intercepted by a multi-agency team while driving a Toyota Wish car in Noolotoro area on September 12.

The wood was hidden in the rear side of the car, police said. Police said the suspects were expected in court to face charges.

Sandalwood is a class of woods from trees in the genus Santalum. The woods are heavy, yellow, and fine-grained, and, unlike many other aromatic woods, they retain their fragrance for decades.
Sandalwood oil is extracted from the woods. Sandalwood is often cited as one of the most expensive woods in the world.

East Africa’s endangered sandalwood tree is being illegally harvested at a rate that could see it becoming extinct.

Officials say it is also resulting in the loss of biodiversity and the loss of a critical medicinal resource for local communities.

Read: Woman Arrested in Mombasa Transporting Endangered Sandalwood Species Worth Sh750,000

People uproot the whole tree to extract the sandalwood oil, which is mostly found in the roots and trunk.

The Kenya Forest Service, the government conservation body, was alarmed by the methods of harvesting. This led swiftly to the 2007 ban on its harvesting.

Over the past two decades, and despite the ban, sandalwood has been increasingly harvested to extract its essential oils, which meet the demand of the pharmaceutical industry in the production of medicines and cosmetics.

A burgeoning illegal trade has grown with this demand. Here trafficking networks in East Africa exploit community forests in northern Kenya to illegally profit from harvesting the endangered tree.

However, sandalwood trafficking has continued in the region due to the demand from Asia for its oil.

In many Asian communities, the oil is popular in socio-cultural and religious ceremonies as well as in traditional medicine.

In 2018 the East African sandalwood tree was listed on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

It is also listed in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.

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Written by KahawaTungu Reporter


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