Page Nav




Classic Header


Top Ad

Advertise Here

Breaking News:


Ivory Wars: Kenya Burns More Than 100 Tons of Ivory

Nairobi - Kenya, which introduced the world to burning ivory in 1989, has just hosted the most spectacular burn event yet: The tusks of nea...

Nairobi - Kenya, which introduced the world to burning ivory in 1989, has just hosted the most spectacular burn event yet: The tusks of nearly 7,000 elephants — 105 metric tons' worth — were set alight in 11 separate pyres in Nairobi's National Park.

The tusks, taken from elephants that were poached as well as from those that died naturally, were collected from Kenya's parks and confiscated at its ports. The haul represents the bulk of Kenya's entire ivory stockpile.

In addition, a 1.5-ton basket of rhino horn was set on fire. All told, more than $300 million worth of contraband went up in flames.
A Kenyan Soldier Walks Past a Burning Pile of Ivory 

"Kenya is leading the way in saying that ivory has no value, unless it's on an elephant," says Robin Hollister, an engineer and pyrotechnics expert, as he adjusts the knobs on an air compressor.

In a vast, muddy field in Nairobi's National Park, about a week before the big burn, Hollister was testing the pipes that today sent a mix of kerosene and diesel squirting at high pressure under each pyre. Ivory is not flammable, so the process is akin to cremation.

Volunteers carry elephant tusks to a burning site as Kenya Wildlife Services rangers keep guard on April 22, for a historic destruction of illegal ivory and rhino horn confiscated mostly from poachers in Nairobi's national park.

"Of course, you could destroy ivory by bringing in a stone crusher," Hollister shrugs. "It would be much easier. But it wouldn't be as dramatic." Ian Khama, the president of Botswana, boycotted Kenya's burn as sending "the wrong message." Botswana has more elephants than Kenya, and has been more successful at conserving them.

Still, Kenya has made recent strides against poaching, which is down by 80 percent since 2013. But even as Kenya's elephants enjoy improved protection, Kenya's port officials can sometimes enable the ivory trade.

Wildlife trade expert Esmond Bradley Martin says that smuggling routes have shifted from West African ports to East African — in Kenya and Tanzania, mostly. Kitili Mbathi, the Director General of Kenya Wildlife Service, admits that the Kenyan port of Mombasa is the "weak link," where corruption allows shipments of ivory tusks to China.

Mike Norton Griffiths, a longtime Kenyan resident who researches the economics of conservation, has a different concern about the ivory burn: What happens to the ivory market when you effectively remove this much — his estimate is 5 percent — of the world supply at one time?

"Look what happened when Iraq went offline with its oil" during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, he notes. "That was 5 percent of the market. Oil prices shot through the roof!" Higher ivory prices could lure more poachers to get into the trade and hunt more elephants, he and others warn.

"It will be a pleasure to burn it," Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta wrote in an editorial on Friday, "and do my part to destroy any possibility that poachers and their accomplices might benefit from the slaughter of Kenya's elephants."

If ivory is to be destroyed, Kenyan officials reason, then it should be done in as public a ceremony as possible. Today's burn was timed to coincide with a continental summit on elephant conservation, so that other African dignitaries and heads of state could participate and show their contempt for the ivory trade. 

The anti-ivory messages are stronger when they come from China's own leaders. Last year, China agreed to phase out its domestic ivory trade. The price of ivory dropped by almost half, even though no timeline for implementing the ban was given. 

Kahumbu says that was a bigger price drop than today's burn — or any burn, for that matter — could hope to achieve. - Online Sources 

Tinzwei Is A Worth Voyage For Those In Pursuit For Up-To-Date World Events.

Read More At The Online Coronavirus Portal Or Use The 24-Hour Public Hotline:
South Africa: 0800 029 999 or just Send Hie to 0600 123 456 on WhatsApp

No comments