KENYA TO TORCH LARGEST IVORY STOCKPILE

As proof of her commitment to zero tolerance for poaching and in the trade in illegal ivory; Kenya is set to destroy 120 tonnes of ivory. This has been termed as the biggest stockpile to be ever burnt by any country in the world.

The event is set to happen on 30th April and is to be graced by various heads of state, along with Hollywood actors, business tycoons and many other dignitaries from various industries.

Other guests on the list, expected to attend include: conservation icon and BBC legend David Attenborough, British musician Elton John, award winning actor and actress: Leonardo Dicaprio and Nicole Kidman, as well as former basketball star Yao Ming, who has led various campaigns in his homeland China, to raise awareness of the damage caused by elephant poaching.

The event will be a build up of the space for giant summit to be held in Nanyuki where their will be discussions around:

  • Drawing on the goodwill of individuals with global influence to help in connecting ideas and build support to expand  conservation interventions.
  • Safeguarding elephants and the landscapes they inhabit after poaching has been eradicated.
  • Showing that African countries know what works in front-line conservation protection and the successful prosecution of poachers
The Space for Giants Club was founded in 2015 by the Heads of State of the Republics of Botswana, Gabon, Kenya and Uganda, together with Mr.Evgeny Lebedev, who is the patron of the Space for Giants. The clubs objective is to combat the poaching crisis by bringing together leaders of African elephant-range states, enlightened heads of major businesses operating in Africa, and leading elephant-protection experts, to provide the political will, financial resources and technical capacity that are so urgently required to save Africa’s remaining elephant populations. it aims to effectively protect at least 50% of the continental total – by 2020.

This is not the first time for the Kenyan government to torch such a large pile of ivory. The first ever torching of ivory was done by Kenya’s first president, H.E Daniel Moi who torched 12 tonnes of ivory in 1989 when the elephant population was at a sharp decline due to poaching. In 2009, President Mwai Kibaki burned down 5 tonnes of ivory and proceeded to say:

“We must all appreciate the negative effects of illegal trade to our national economies. We cannot afford to sit back and allow criminal networks to destroy our common future.” President Mwai Kibaki said.

Following in his predecessors footsteps; President Uhuru Kenyatta, the 3rd Kenyan president, on 15th March 2015, also set a blaze 15 tonnes of ivory, which was termed as the largest ever burned in Africa. He said that the country was dedicated in combating the menace robustly and persistently until the entire vile economy is dismantled.

IVORY-BURNING
President Uhuru sets a blaze  15tonnes of ivory in march last year

In total the 3 Kenyan presidents have burned down 32 tonnes of ivory and probably 152 tonnes by April this year.

The Kenya wildlife service Richard leaky has strongly supported the destruction of the seized ivory. He estimated that the average weight of an elephant’s pair of tusks was around 36 kilos, meaning the stockpile represents the death of around 4,000 animals. But other conservationists put a tusk’s weight to be far lower, meaning that the stockpile could represent the deaths of even double that number.

The ivory tusks being torched consists of those seized from poachers and from elephants who died naturally.

In our view this is very commendable. In order to stop the bloody trade other countries should emulate Kenya’s example; not just by burning its stocks but also burning the trade of ivory in their countries. By doing this we shall stop demand hence the killing of 30,000 elephants each year and prevent the extinction of such a majestic creature.

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