Kenya sends out 15 tonne ivory smoke signal
Today, March 3rd 2015, World Wildlife Day, the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, torched 15 tonnes of ivory, sending the clearest possible signal to the world that Kenya continues to reject the international trade in ivory and is a global leader in fighting the disastrous ivory trade.
According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free Foundation and Born Free USA, organisations for years on the front lines of trying to protect elephants from the scourge of poaching for their ivory, said: “Once more, our steadfast allies in Kenya have set a bold example for the rest of the world to follow by again burning their stockpiled ivory rather than pushing for its sale, a short-sighted decision that would lead to even more elephant slaughter. The value of removing ivory from the marketplace permanently and publicly is to be applauded universally.”
Kenya was the first country to destroy stockpiled ivory when, in 1989, former President Daniel arap Moi torched a 12 tonne pyre of ivory tusks. Since then a number of countries have followed suit by destroying stocks including France, the USA, Belgium, Zambia, Gabon, the Philippines, Hong Kong and China who destroyed 6 tonnes in Guangzhou in Jan 2014.
Born Free's Kenya Country Manager, Tim Oloo, who attended the ceremony in Nairobi National Park, along with politicians, diplomats, conservation leaders and members of the Press, said: "I am proud that my country continues to demonstrate such incredible conservation leadership and has raised its flag against poaching and the international ivory trade. Today’s action celebrates the dedicated efforts of the Kenya Wildlife Service and other agencies and it reinforces our nation's determination to end the slaughter of elephants by ending all speculation about a future legal ivory trade. We want none of it."
In 3 weeks, international leaders will gather in Kasane, Botswana, to review the progress they have made in tackling the illegal trade in wildlife, including elephant ivory. This meeting is the follow up to the ground-breaking Wildlife Summit hosted by the UK Government and Princes Charles and Prince William in February 2014, where a series of actions were agreed to halt the decline in some of the world's most iconic species - elephants, rhino and tigers - as a direct result of wildlife trafficking and human greed.
Will Travers OBE, President of Born Free Foundation, who will attend the Kasane meeting, commented: "Removing stockpiles, either by destruction or any means that prevents them from ever being traded, is a vital, positive step and Kenya's courage is to be applauded. The rest of the world needs to pay attention and take action through providing support for increased anti-poaching efforts; coordinating measures to disrupt and destroy the organised criminal gangs behind the illegal trade; and, vitally, agreeing to end all domestic sales of ivory - new, old, carved or raw - so that illegal, smuggled ivory can no longer be passed off as legitimate."
Adam Roberts concluded: “Today’s actions in Kenya support elephant conservation and national security. We know full-well the de-stablising effects of elephant poaching and the ivory trade – elephants are slaughtered, but so, too, are the heroic game rangers dedicated to protecting them. As Born Free USA’s ground-breaking 2014 reports (Ivory’s Curse and Out of Africa showed, terrorizing gangs and criminal syndicates rule the wildlife trade, and every step toward stopping them is a step toward safety for animals and people alike.”