, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 28 – All is set for Saturday’s torching of the largest ivory stockpile at the Kenya Wildlife Service headquarters, in a ceremony to be attended by world leaders and top celebrities.
President Uhuru Kenyatta will preside over the event in which elephant ivory and rhino horn will be set ablaze as explained by KWS Species Conservation and Management boss Patrick Omondi.
“We are now in the final stages of preparation for the ivory and rhino horn burn this Saturday. We have 105 tonnes of ivory and 1.35 tonnes of rhino horns,” explained Omondi.
The stockpile to be burnt is an accumulation of ivory from 1989 in a national inventory done for the first time in Kenya last year, which helped determine the number of rhino horns and ivory and their location.
“This historic event will be sending a message to the outside world that ivory and rhino horn are worth more on a living animal and not otherwise,” stated Omondi.
However this will just be one of the measures Kenya undertakes to condemn poaching as the challenges facing wildlife are still rife.
“The 105 tonnes of ivory is equivalent to 16,000 pieces meaning 8,000 elephants were killed, as for the 1.35 tonnes of rhino horns, its equivalent to 343 rhinos, said Omondi, “This numbers are set to increase if we don’t take matters poaching personally.”
Omondi’s sentiments were echoed by Brand Kenya Board Chairman Chris Kirubi who said the illegal trade of wildlife products will destroy the country’s treasured heritage if not stopped.
“Tourism is the second biggest driver of the country’s economy. We don’t want a repeat of burning of ivory and rhino horns, noted Kirubi. This should be the last burning we undertake as a country as we should stride to make it our mission to end poaching.”
Kirubi also called upon the countries engaged in the illegal trade to stop, terming their action as unacceptable in the current world.
“My heart cries out for the failure in protecting the animals. We need to double our efforts, let’s do more, let the world say no to illegal trade in wildlife trophies,” Kirubi explained.