In April, many important minds will attend a major global summit in Kenya. This event aims to lessen the impact of poachers who hunt rhinos and elephants for their ivory tusks. At the Pan-African Giants Club summit, Kenya plans to set fire to over 120 tonnes (that’s nearly 265,000 US pounds!) of ivory – worth approximately $270 million – as major statement against the poaching industry. Of this historic burning, Kenyan presidential spokesman Monoah Esipisu said the following:
Kenya plans to use the occasion to torch as many as 120 tonnes of ivory, the largest stockpile of ivory ever destroyed by any country, as proof of our commitment to zero tolerance for poaching and illegal ivory trade. The fire will be eight times the size of any ivory stockpile destroyed so far.
Kenya has taken drastic steps to shut down the once-booming ivory industry as a whole. Fortunately, a lot of this work has paid off. However, there’s still a bit of a problem, as the country has allowed a loophole (which allows the sale of ‘one off’ ivory) to persist since 1989. More than that, this is just one country in what’s the largest continent in the world — a continent that has poached some 100,000 elephants in the last three years.
The Kenyan law has done an excellent job in its short life, though, cutting numbers down by 80%. In the time since the bill was introduced, elephant and rhino poachings have been reduced from 57 to just 5, which is impressive. That success has been attributed to the high-level penalties that are enforced by the Wildlife Management and Conservation Act 2013. This act added more park rangers and improved surveillance at local airports.
One can only hope that the rest of Africa will soon enact similar legislature before both rhinos and elephants are wiped out completely. Several known species are already well at risk of extinction!
(Via Digital Journal)