Kenya to host historic elephant poaching summit

Uhuru Kenyatta Space for Giants
Evgeny Lebedev, the patron of Space for Giants, with President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi Kenya Elephant Press Release Photo

Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, is hosting a historic gathering of African leaders to tackle the elephant poaching crisis at the inaugural meeting of the wildlife protection initiative, the Giants Club.

Kenyatta was joined by the presidents of Gabon, Botswana and Uganda in founding the Giants Club initiative last year and other leaders, including the presidents of Tanzania, Liberia and Chad and the prime minister of Ethiopia, have also been invited to attend the two-day Kenya summit on April 29 and 30.

Organised with Professor Judi Wakhungu, the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary (Minister) Environment & Natural Resources, the leaders will be joined by conservation experts as well as representatives from some of the largest companies working in Africa, including Olam and De Beers.

Virgin founder and Mahali Mzuri owner Richard Branson along with XIX Entertainment head Simon Fuller are also involved in the Kenya Airways sponsored event.

“(We) will use this opportunity to underline the global intent to put an end, once again, to the butchering of elephants and rhinos by selfish criminal gangs.”

– President Uhuru Kenyatta

The meeting will be followed at 3pm on April 30 by the burning of a 120-tonne stockpile of ivory in Nairobi National Park, organised by the Kenya Wildlife Service and supported by the Stop Ivory charity.

First ivory bonfire
The first ivory bonfire. Photo: Samburu Trust

The majority of ivory to be burned has been seized from poaching gangs and will demonstrate the Kenyan government’s zero tolerance of the illegal wildlife trade.

The blaze will be eight times larger than any previous destruction of an ivory stockpile.

“The world’s most powerful individuals are being brought together to focus not just on the immediate poaching crisis, but the longer term challenge of ensuring Africa’s conservation estate is sustained forever. President Kenyatta and the Giants Club will achieve something extraordinary.”

– Doctor Max Graham, Founder and Chief of Space for Giants

The Giants Club was founded by Kenya-based charity Space for Giants, whose patron is London Evening Standard owner Evgeny Lebedev, to combat the poaching crisis by bringing together political leaders, corporate chiefs and conservationists to protect Africa’s remaining elephant populations.