Rangers have arrested three Kenyan men and seized 22 elephant tusks weighing 287 pounds that they tried to sell, a spokesman for the Kenya Wildlife Service said Monday.

A source tipped off the Kenya Wildlife Service that the three were looking for buyers in the town of Garsen, 286 miles southeast of the capital, Nairobi.

Two Rangers posed as buyers and arrested the men Aug. 30, said Gichuki Kabukuru of the wildlife service. Two other suspects got away when the rangers tried to arrest them, Kabukuru told The Associated Press.

The three men were charged in court Sept. 1, he said. Kenya's elephant population has grown from around 16,000 to 27,000 since the U.N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, banned the ivory trade in 1989. But that is far fewer than the estimated 167,000 elephants that lived in Kenya in 1973, before poaching devastated the herds.