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Kenya destroys tusks to deter poachers from killing elephants

Kenya destroys tusks to deter poachers from killing elephants


Kenya will on Saturday destroy a stockpile of elephant tusks in a bid to deter poaching and clamp down on the ivory trade.

Thousands of elephants are killed annually for their tusks as a way of satisfying the high demand for ivory in Asia.

The stockpile to be destroyed on Saturday includes tusks seized from poachers and animals who died of natural causes.

“Basically we take a mixture of fuel, diesel and kerosene and pump it under very high pressure into the middle of the pyramid of the ivory tower with compressed air,” Robin Hollister, an ivory expert said.

Wildlife experts say the remaining stockpile represents at least 4000 elephants that have been killed.

They hope the open destruction of the ivory will serve as a deterrent to poachers.

“Anybody seeing this type of fire in a third world country, if you are in China you are asking yourself why are they destroying what looks like money? They are telling you maybe it is. But to us we want to put it beyond economic use. We don’t want to discuss selling this stuff,” said Winnie Kiiru, a Kenyan ivory expert.

Experts say there are less than 500,000 surviving elephants on the African continent currently.

Each year, close to 40,000 of them are slaughtered by poachers, and a kilo of their ivory is sold for about 1,000 euros.