Kenya to destroy largest ever stockpile of ivory

Politicians and celebrities will gather at Nairobi National Park on 30 April 2016 to watch a historic ivory burning event. 

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A Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) officer stands near a burning pile of ivory.
A Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) officer stands near a burning pile of 15 tonnes of elephant ivory seized in Kenya at Nairobi National Park on 3 March 2015. © Carl de Souza/Getty

 

Kenya is set to destroy the largest ever stockpile of ivory in Africa’s history in Nairobi National Park. 

Over 100 tonnes of ivory worth will be burned. 

The Ivory Burn on 30 April, hosted by the Government of Kenya and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), aims to put the ivory beyond economic use and remind the world that Kenya’s natural assets are not for sale. 

Kenya's elephant population is on the CITES Appendix I, the highest level of protection and cannot be sold on the international market.

The Kenyan Government long-standing policy is to put ivory beyond economic use because it has no intrinsic value outside of living elephants in their natural habitats.  

KWS says, “Although the destruction of elephant ivory will not in itself put an end to the illegal ivory trade in elephant ivory, it ensures that no one will ever profit from this contraband and, when coupled with the seizure of ivory and the prosecution and conviction of offenders, it sends a very powerful message that Kenya does not, and will not, tolerate this illegal trade, and that illegal traders now face significant risks along the entire illegal supply chain.” 

President Kenyatta will convene the largest wildlife summit in Africa’s history, The Giants Club Summit, on 29 April in partnership with wildlife charity, Space for Giants.

African heads of state, business tycoons, conservationists and wildlife ambassadors are expected to attend the two-day event. 

The unprecedented surge in high level poaching in the 1970 and 1980s prompted the Kenyan government to burn 12,000kg of accumulated ivory in July 1989.

This acted as a bold statement to the world that poaching was a menace, threatening to wipe out an entire species and that something needed to be done.

The international trade in ivory was banned later that same year.

Kenya’s ivory burning on 30 April 2016, is part of this same cycle of public destructions. 

Ivory smuggling: 9 things you should know

Read more wildlife news stories in BBC Wildlife Magazine

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