Kenya is preparing to burn a huge stockpile of ivory and rhino horns later this month to underline the country’s determination to curb poaching.
Led by President Uhuru Kenyatta, the country will destroy 120 tonnes of ivory, the largest stockpile to be annihilated at a go by any country.
The ivory will be burnt at an event organised by the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) at the Nairobi National Park.
We are moving them into the containers initially collecting them here and then we will transport them to the ivory burning site in readiness for the burn.
The ceremony will coincide with the country’s inaugural international wildlife summit that will see several heads of state, conservationists, Hollywood figures among others in attendance.
Dubbed the Giants’ Club Summit, the event will “work towards the goal of developing a more cohesive, continent-wide response to the poaching of elephants and the trade in illegal-wildlife trophies,” said State House spokesperson, Manoah Esipisu in a statement.
Of the 120 tonnes, KWS has already removed 105 tonnes from its vault in preparation for the burning.
“We are moving them into the containers initially collecting them here and then we will transport them to the ivory burning site in readiness for the burn on 30th,” said Kitili Mbathi, KWS Director General.
The stockpile is from elephants and rhinos killed in encounters with humans as well as those that died naturally and those that were poached.
The country banned ivory trade 25 years ago. Since then, the government has set fire to tonnes of ivory to discourage poaching and ivory trade. In 1989, Kenya symbolically burnt its ivory stockpile.
According to wildlife conservationist group, Save the Elephants, 100,000 elephants were killed in Africa from 2010 to 2012.
Furthermore, over 30,000 elephants are poached in Africa annually due to high demand from Asia which sells them for around 1,000 euros per kilogram.