Quantcast

Kenya to Burn Biggest Ever Stockpile of Illegal Ivory

Animals

As elephants continue to pay the ultimate price for the demand for their tusks, their advocates are preparing to watch the largest stockpile of ivory yet go up in flames in Kenya’s Nairobi National Park on Saturday, April 30.

The bottom line is that all ivory came from an elephant who is worth far more alive than dead and none of it is worth the price being paid. Photo credit: Thinkstock

Back in 1989, Kenya became the first to destroy ivory when then President Daniel arap Moi torched 12 tons of tusks, representing an estimated 2,000 elephants who had been killed over the previous four years. At the time, he said the gesture was an “appeal to people all over the world to stop buying ivory.”

Later that year, the international trade in ivory was banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), with the exception of two government sales held in 1999 and 2008.

Despite the call to end the trade decades ago and the ban, the demand for ivory continues to put the future of elephants in jeopardy, as hundreds of thousands continue to die every year for their tusks. By some estimates, their time on this planet could run out in a little more than a decade and these iconic animals will be erased from the landscape forever if drastic measures aren’t taken.

In an effort to send a message to the world about the destruction the ivory trade is causing, Kenya will be destroying another stockpile. This time, 105 metric tons of ivory, in addition to 1.5 metric tons of rhino horn, will go up in flames in what will be the largest stockpile destroyed to date.

The event will be held a day after the Giants Club Summit, where heads of state from Africa, global leaders and conservationists will be meeting to discuss the future of elephants and efforts to combat the illegal trade in ivory that’s decimating them.

Some have been critical of destroying stockpiles of ivory. They argue that selling it instead will flood the market, lower its value and save more lives and that money brought in could be used to fund conservation efforts.

They say it’s a waste, but the only true waste is the loss of lives. Every single one of those tusks came from the tragic, violent and needless death of a living, breathing, feeling elephant. It’s horrifying to consider each of the unique individuals those tusks represent. Each pair was taken to fuel a sickeningly bloody trade for nothing more than trinkets and junk no one needs.

The problem isn’t what we do with ivory, it’s giving ivory any value at all, other than what it’s worth to an elephant.

While these events have their detractors, countries around the world have destroyed stockpiles in response to the crisis threatening elephants and conservationists are applauding Kenya’s decision to light a match to another one.

Supporters fear that putting more ivory on the market will stimulate the demand and create the perception that buying ivory is perfectly acceptable, in addition to the fact that it will potentially offer a cover to sell ivory from recently killed elephants. We already have legalized sales for pre-ban ivory, but that market is clearly doing nothing to protect elephants.

“Kenya is once again boldly leading the way by demonstrating ivory must be put beyond economic use by burning our entire stockpile,” Kenya’s environment secretary Prof. Judi Wakhungu said. “[This] is evidence of our zero tolerance approach towards poaching and illegal wildlife trade."

The bottom line is that all ivory came from an elephant who is worth far more alive than dead and none of it is worth the price being paid.

For more info on how to help elephants, check out iworry and 96 elephants. You can also show your support on social media by using #WorthMoreAlive and #LightAFire.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Neil Young’s New Album EARTH Breaks All the Rules

Cousteau to SeaWorld: Captive Orcas ‘Need to Be Released’

Watch Racing Extinction: It Will Change the Way You View the World

Rare Black Rhino Euthanized After Being Shot by Poachers

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A new report spotlights a U.N. estimate that at least 275 million people rely on healthy coral reefs. A sea turtle near the Heron Island in the Great Barrier Reef is seen above. THE OCEAN AGENCY / XL CATLIN SEAVIEW SURVEY

By Jessica Corbett

In a new report about how the world's coral reefs face "the combined threats of climate change, pollution, and overfishing" — endangering the future of marine biodiversity — a London-based nonprofit calls for greater global efforts to end the climate crisis and ensure the survival of these vital underwater ecosystems.

Read More
Half of the extracted resources used were sand, clay, gravel and cement, seen above, for building, along with the other minerals that produce fertilizer. Cavan Images / Cavan / Getty Images

The world is using up more and more resources and global recycling is falling. That's the grim takeaway from a new report by the Circle Economy think tank, which found that the world used up more than 110 billion tons, or 100.6 billion metric tons, of natural resources, as Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.

Read More
Sponsored

By Gero Rueter

Heating with coal, oil and natural gas accounts for around a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. But that's something we can change, says Wolfgang Feist, founder of the Passive House Institute in the western German city of Darmstadt.

Read More
Researchers estimate that 142,000 people died due to drug use in 2016. Markus Spiske / Unsplash

By George Citroner

  • Recent research finds that official government figures may be underestimating drug deaths by half.
  • Researchers estimate that 142,000 people died due to drug use in 2016.
  • Drug use decreases life expectancy after age 15 by 1.4 years for men and by just under 1 year for women, on average.

Government records may be severely underreporting how many Americans die from drug use, according to a new study by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown University.

Read More
Water coolers in front of shut-off water fountains at Center School in Stow, MA on Sept. 4, 2019 after elevated levels of PFAS were found in the water. David L. Ryan / The Boston Globe via Getty Images

In a new nationwide assessment of drinking water systems, the Environmental Working Group found that toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS are far more prevalent than previously thought.

Read More