On Wednesday, July 20th, Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki set fire to more than 5 tons of elephant ivory worth $16 million in an act meant to focus attention on a rising tide of poaching deaths.
“Through the disposal of contraband ivory, we seek to formally demonstrate to the world our determination to eliminate all forms of illegal trade in ivory,” Kibaki told several hundred people at a rural Kenya Wildlife Service training facility in southeastern Kenya. “We must all appreciate the negative effects of illegal trade to our national economies. We cannot afford to sit back and allow criminal networks to destroy our common future.”
Wednesday’s burning, though hosted by Kenya, was actually carried out by the Lusaka Agreement Task Force, a group of seven African countries that work to protect flora and fauna. A member of the group, Ephraim Kamuntu, Uganda’s minister of tourism, said Wednesday’s burning sent the signal that “the days of poachers are numbered.”
The burned ivory was confiscated by officials in Singapore in 2002. It was then sent to Kenya, where DNA analysis determined that the tusks originated in Zambia and Malawi. Read the full article