, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 20 – President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday visited the Nairobi National Park ahead of the April event when he will preside over the destruction of massive stockpiles of ivory.
At the event, Kenya will torch 120 tonnes of ivory, just 17 short of Kenya’s total stockpiles and 1.5 tonnes of rhino horn; the entire stockpile.
The ivory will be burnt on April 30 in the Park, in an event organised by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) with the support of the anti-ivory trade charity Stop Ivory.
“President Uhuru Kenyatta visited the Nairobi National Park to review arrangements for a massive ivory burn event in April,” State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu said in a statement.
Before the ivory destruction, the president will host a historic gathering of African leaders to address the elephant-poaching crisis in the first meeting of the Giants Club, a wildlife-protection initiative.
The leaders will include African Heads of State, numerous conservation experts, eminent corporate leaders, high-profile philanthropists, and Hollywood figures to work towards the goal of developing a more cohesive, continent-wide response to the poaching of elephants and the trade in illegal-wildlife trophies.
“The fact that this summit will be the single biggest summit of its kind in Africa’s history, is an encouraging sign that there is sufficient political goodwill on the continent to enable our collective conservation efforts to succeed,” Esipisu noted.
According to scientific reports, between 2010 and 2012 some 100,000 elephants were lost to poaching across Africa.
The Giants Club was founded by the Kenyan-based elephant-protection charity Space for Giants, to combat the poaching crisis by bringing together political leaders, corporate heads and conservationists to protect Africa’s remaining elephant populations.
“Organisations such as the Giants’ Club play a massive role in influencing global opinion and ensuring these successes can be repeated and replicated across Africa, and the globe. By standing together, we can we make owning ivory and rhino horn an abhorrence,” Esipisu said.
Kenya Airways, which signed a Declaration to Prevent Wildlife Trafficking, will be one of the keys supporters of the ivory burning event.
The Declaration by the global transport players is ambitious with eleven commitments which require signatories to commit to supporting global efforts to prevent illegal wildlife smuggling, through putting in place real measures where the transport industry specifically can help shut down routes exploited by traffickers.