Yesterday (30 April), President Uhuru Kenyatta, Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta torched elephant ivory and rhino horn at Nairobi National Park.
The Kenyan President set fire to the huge stockpile of ivory in an effort to demonstrate his country’s commitment to saving Africa’s threatened elephant population.
In excess of 100 tonnes of ivory, representing nearly the entire stock confiscated by Kenya, amounting to the tusks of about 6,700 elephants, was stacked up in pyres in Nairobi National Park where it is expected to burn for up to three days days.
Before igniting the first pyre, Mr Kenyatta said: “The height of the pile of ivory before us marks the strength of our resolve.
“No-one, and I repeat no-one, has any business in trading in ivory, for this trade means death of our elephants and death of our natural heritage.”
Some conservationists have opposed the ivory burn arguing that by destroying such an amount of ivory, it could increase its value and actually encourage an increase in poaching.
- Discussion: Will the ivory burn stop poaching?
The President of Botswana, where about half of Africa’s elephants live, is one of the opponents of the ivory burn and didn’t attend yesterday’s event.
Experts have warned Africa’s elephants could be extinct within decades with demand for the ivory coming mainly from Asia, with Mombasa the main trafficking route out of Kenyan.