Kenya’s president, president Uhuru Kenyatta set fire to 15 tons of elephant tusks during World Wildlife Day yesterday, Tuesday to discourage pouching-the illegal trade of capturing and killing rare animals.
President Uhuru said that Twenty-five years since ivory trade was banned, there has been a new demand from emerging markets threatening Africa’s elephants and rhinos. He said African countries are concerned about the scale and rate of the new threat to endangered wildlife species;
“Many of these tusks belonged to elephants which were wantonly slaughtered by criminals. We want future generations of Kenyans, Africans and the entire world to experience the majesty and beauty of these magnificent beasts. Poachers and their enablers will not have the last word,”
Higher demand for ivory is fueling elephant killings by poachers across Africa. According to a group called “Save The Elephants” ,100,000 elephants were killed in Africa between 2010 and 2012. On Thursday, China imposed a one-year ban on ivory imports amid criticism that its citizens’ have a huge appetite for ivory thereby threatening the existence of Africa’s elephants.
Save the Elephants founder, Ian Douglas Hamilton, said research released by his organization showed that the price of elephant ivory has tripled in China since 2010.
Hamilton said Kenya has a long way to go before it can be clear of the poaching menace. The elephant populations in Tanzania, Gabon, Cameroun, Central African Republic, Mozambique, Republic of Congo and Congo are the worst hit by poaching, he said.
According to Kenya’s Wildlife Service, 2011, 2012 and 2013 witnessed the highest levels of poaching since a poaching crisis in the 1980s,
Poaching declined last year, with 164 elephants and 35 rhinos killed. Officials attributed the decline partially to stiffer penalties.