Tags: AF | Kenya | Ivory Burning 1st Ld | Writethru

Kenya Prepares to Burn Ivory to Protect Elephants

Kenya Prepares to Burn Ivory to Protect Elephants

Wednesday, 20 April 2016 02:23 PM

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenyan wildlife officers Wednesday started stacking 105 tons of ivory and 1 ton of rhino horns to make 12 towers which are to be torched at the end of the month to encourage global efforts to help stop poaching of elephant and rhino.

Under a grey sky and amid mud from rains the night before, media and conservationists gathered to witness the unloading of 11 shipping containers full of ivory transported from stockpiles around Kenya.

Workers carried the tusks through the mud onto around 12 metal structures built specifically for burning the ivory and other confiscated endangered materials such as the skins of colobus monkeys, rhino horn, and wood from African sandalwood trees.

There is a real threat of elephants becoming extinct in the next 50 years mainly because of poaching bankrolled by the illegal trade in ivory which is why there is need for dramatic action, said Kenya Wildlife Service Director Kitili Mbathi.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is set to set the pyres on fire April 30, according to the wildlife service. Last year Kenyatta lit on fire 15 tons of ivory.

Proponents of the trade in ivory say that rather than destroy it, the sale of ivory stockpiles could fund conservation efforts. Kenya has consistently opposed the trade in ivory saying it would encourage the poaching that has decimated the elephant and rhino populations.

"We strongly believe elephant (ivory) has more value on a living elephant than outside it because humankind can do without ivory. They can do without it, it is not medicine, they use it for bangles," said Patrick Omondi, deputy director of the Kenya Wildlife Service. "You kill (an elephant of) 7 tons to make a bangle, it is madness."

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Kenyan wildlife officers Wednesday started stacking 105 tons of ivory and 1 ton of rhino horns to make 12 towers which are to be torched at the end of the month to encourage global efforts to help stop poaching of elephant and rhino.Under a grey sky and amid mud from rains...
AF,Kenya,Ivory Burning 1st Ld,Writethru
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2016-23-20
Wednesday, 20 April 2016 02:23 PM
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