Tags: kenya | burns | ivory | poachers | elephants

Kenya Burns Ivory in Public Display to Deter Elephant Poachers

By    |   Wednesday, 04 Mar 2015 09:15 AM

Kenya has burned more than 33,000 pounds of ivory confiscated from elephant poachers in a public display meant to discourage the shameful practice.

Voice of America reported that Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta personally lit the three-tiered pile of tusks with his own torch. The ceremony continued a decades-old tradition, as former President Mwai Kibaki set fire to his own pile in 2011, and so did his predecessor, Daniel Toroitich arap Moi, in 1989.

"African countries are concerned about the scale and rate of the new threat to our endangered wildlife species. We are committed to combatting the menace robustly and persistently until we dismantle the entire vile economy," said Kenyatta.

"In order to underline our determination to eradicate poaching, my government shall burn the rest of the stockpile that we have within this year."

Demand for contraband ivory has been driven in large part by Asian consumers, who use it for jewelry, ornaments, and folk medicines.

In recent years penalties for poachers have been ratcheted up by Kenyan lawmakers, and the first man convicted under new rules in January 2014, a Chinese man, was sentenced to a fine of more than $200,000 or seven years in jail.

According to the U.N. and Interpol, poachers have killed 20,000 to 25,000 elephants a year across Africa. That's out of a total population of roughly 650,000. At that rate, experts say elephants could go extinct by the middle of the century.

"Illegal trade in wildlife has become a sophisticated transnational form of crime, comparable to other pernicious examples, such as trafficking of drugs, humans, counterfeit items, and oil," U.N Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said in a statement obtained by Reuters.

"It is driven by rising demand, and is often facilitated by corruption and weak governance. There is strong evidence of the increased involvement of organized crime networks and non-State armed groups."



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Kenya has burned more than 33,000 pounds of ivory confiscated from elephant poachers in a public display meant to discourage the shameful practice.
kenya, burns, ivory, poachers, elephants
311
2015-15-04
Wednesday, 04 Mar 2015 09:15 AM
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