On Saturday Kenya will burn 105 tonnes of Ivory and 1.5 tonnes of rhino horn — the largest stockpile to be incinerated by any country.
The event will be led by the Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta as well as Dr. Richard Leakey, conservationist, paleontologist and current Chair of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). The event will also have various businessmen and other dignitaries present.
The significance is to show Kenya’s stance against Ivory poaching, sending out the message that the best use of Ivory lies with Elephants and not whatever reasons the poachers hunt them for.
“We want to show the world that there shouldn’t be any intrinsic value in ivory,” Kenya Wildlife Services Director-General Kitili Mbathi told reporters in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
This is going to be the fourth time Kenya torches tonnes of Ivory and the largest at that. The first time was in 1989 when former president of Kenya Daniel Arap Moi burned about 13 tons.
While some applaud this move, not all conservationists support Kenya’s decision to burn that many tusks. These group believe that burning the ivory will in no way stop poaching, rather having talks with the consumers of Ivory and Chinese governments to reach a decision and also implement new ways to prevent these animals from being poached.
Paula Kahumbu, chief executive at conservation group Wildlife Direct said “This is not about burning ivory, it’s about preserving elephants,
“With the scourge in corruption, ivory trafficking is difficult to control. People think that ivory trafficking is instituted at high level, but there is even low level corruption from policemen to court clerks to port workers, which facilitates this.”
The African Elephant which is one of the Big 5 games is on the verge of extinction due to the illegal poaching of the Elephants for their tusks. Between 20,000 to 33,000 elephants are poached every year in Africa. The ivory is used for the creation of ornaments Chinese medicine. There are currently only 470,000 of the elephants left in the wild.