Leonardo DiCaprio and Nicole Kidman to Attend Torching of Largest Ever Ivory Stockpile to Help Put an End to Poaching
Kenya will host a major global summit on illegal poaching and wildlife trafficking this April that will count Hollywood celebrities, business leaders, world dignitaries and politicians as attendees, according to local reports.
Additionally, in an effort to boost elephant conservation, Kenya will also use the two-day event to set fire to its massive stockpile of ivory that has an estimated black market price of $270 million.
Flickr / Flickr
“Kenya plans to use the occasion to torch as many as 120 tonnes of ivory, the largest stockpile of ivory ever destroyed by any country, as proof of our commitment to zero tolerance for poaching and illegal ivory trade,” Presidential Spokesman Manoah Esipisu told reporters.
Actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Nicole Kidman, and business tycoons George Soros, Paul Allen, Howard Buffet (son of Warren Buffett) and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg are expected to attend the Elephant Protection Initiative held April 29 - April 30.
Renowned broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough, musician Elton John and former NBA player Yao Ming, who has also prominently campaigned against poaching crisis, are also on the guest list.
“They will be joined by a host of African gliterrati in a campaign to sustain the fight against poaching and the illegal trade in ivory, for which Kenya is already a recognized leader,” the Environment Cabinet Sec. Judi Wakhungu told The Star.
Conservationist Richard Leakey, chairman of the government’s Kenya Wildlife Service, told News.com.au that the average weight of an elephant’s pair of tusks was around 36 kilos (nearly 80 pounds), meaning the stockpile represents the death of around 4,000 animals.
According to News.com.au, "Kenya’s stockpile, if illegally sold on the black market at current prices, could be worth some $270 million, but conservationists say sale of ivory only serves to fuel further poaching."
Kenya's current elephant population stands at about 45,000 nationwide, according to the Kenya Wildlife Service. The country had a population of roughly 35,000 elephants in 2013. (Let us also note that Kenya's elephant population was about 167,000 in the 1970s.)
Still, the illegal slaughter of elephants and other wildlife remains a rampant problem in Kenya and across the African continent. The latest statistics, according to a report from Daily Nation, show that more than 100,000 elephants have been killed in Africa in the past three years. Kenya lost 96 elephants and 11 rhinos to poachers in 2015, the report said.
Kenya's strict laws against poaching has led to a dramatic decline in elephant and rhino poaching within the country. This past March, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta set fire to 15 tonnes of elephant ivory tusks during a ceremony at the Nairobi National Park, which was then the largest consignment ever destroyed by Kenya, the BBC reported.
"Many of these tusks belonged to elephants which were wantonly slaughtered by criminals," he said at the ceremony.
"We want future generations of Kenyans, Africans and indeed the entire world to experience the majesty and beauty of these magnificent animals," President Kenyatta said.
Elephant tusks are used for ornaments in Asia and the Middle East. China, in particular, is a leading culprit. The country's demand accounts for 70 percent of global demand for ivory, contributing the to death of 30,000 African elephants each year, The Guardian reported.
On Jan. 13, Hong Kong—a major hub of Chinese ivory sales—announced it will ban import and export of ivory following a major anti-ivory campaign by conservation organization such as the World Wildlife Fund.
Hong Kong's announcement followed an announcement by Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama in September 2015 that they would take significant and timely steps to halt their domestic commercial ivory trades.
On Tuesday, U.S Sec. of the Interior Sally Jewell and President Kenyatta signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on National Conservation and Management at the State House in Nairobi to jointly tackle trafficking and aid wildlife conservation.
“The U.S. has brought on board China, which is a main consumer of the animal products," Jewell said. "I have met several senior Chinese officials to discuss ways of ending this illegal business. The U.S. is determined to end this illegal trade."
The country joins Gabon, the Philippines, the U.S., China, France, Chad, Belgium, Hong Kong, Kenya, Ethiopia, the United Arab Emirates, Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Thailand, who have all destroyed stockpiles of ivory in the last four years.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Eleven peaceful activists from the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise have taken to the water in inflatable boats with handheld banners to oppose the Statoil Songa Enabler oil rig, 275 km North off the Norwegian coast, in the Arctic Barents sea.
The banners say: "People Vs. Arctic Oil" and are directed at Statoil and the Norwegian government, which has opened a new, aggressive search for oil in the waters of the Barents Sea.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) paved the way Friday for the 600-mile, 42-inch fracked gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline to proceed when it issued the final environmental impact statement (FEIS). A joint project of utility giants Duke Energy and Dominion Energy, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would move fracked gas from West Virginia into Virginia and North Carolina.
In April, the Sierra Club submitted more than 500 pages of legal and technical comments on FERC's draft EIS, which were joined by more than 18,000 individual comments detailing opposition to the project. The pipeline has been met with widespread opposition, with more than 1,000 people participating in public hearings across the three affected states. The Sierra Club recently requested that FERC issue a new environmental review document analyzing information that came in after or late in, the public comment process.
By Jessica Corbett
"It's time Rex Tillerson step down or be removed," said Gigi Kellett of Corporate Accountability International, following an announcement on Thursday that ExxonMobil will pay $2 million for violating U.S. sanctions against Russian officials while the now-secretary of state was the company's CEO.
"ExxonMobil demonstrated reckless disregard for U.S. sanction requirements," according to enforcement filing released by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which issued the penalty. Though the fine is reportedly the maximum penalty allowed, it's pittance to one of the world's most profitable and powerful corporations, which last year reported a profit of $7.8 billion.
New analysis from Amory B. Lovins debunks the notion that highly unprofitable, economically distressed nuclear plants should be further subsidized to meet financial, security, reliability and climate goals. The analysis, which will appear shortly in The Electricity Journal, shows that closing costly-to-run nuclear plants and reinvesting their saved operating costs in energy efficiency provides cheaper electricity, increases grid reliability and security, reduces more carbon, and preserves (not distorts) market integrity—all without subsidies.
By Christian Detisch and Seth Gladstone
In the wake of Senate Republicans' ever-deepening debacle over their flailing attempts to strip health insurance from 22 million people, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is desperate to do something—anything—to show that he can get legislation passed. To this end, he's bypassing the standard committee review process to push a complex 850+ page energy bill straight to the full Senate floor. Perhaps not surprisingly, this legislation, the Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017, would be a disaster for public health and our climate.
A new law passed this week in South Miami will require all new homes built in the city to install solar panels. The measure, which was inspired by a proposal from a teenage climate activist, will go into effect in September.
The text of the ordinance details the climate impacts facing South Miami.
By Ben Jervey
Just last week, we fact-checked and debunked every line of The Dirty Secrets of Electric Cars, a video produced by Fueling U.S. Forward, a Koch-funded campaign to push fossil fuels. That video represents the group's first public pivot from fossil fuel boosterism to electric vehicle (EV) attacks. More electric vehicle experts are also picking the video apart.
One effort is this video highlighting many of the same falsehoods we wrote about, and which adds key context about some of the video footage. Like, for instance, the fact that the photo that Fueling U.S. Forward claims is a lithium, cobalt or cerium mining operation is actually a copper mine.
By Katherine Paul and Ronnie Cummins
A recent series of articles by a Washington Post reporter could have some consumers questioning the value of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) organic seal. But are a few bad eggs representative of an entire industry?
Consumers are all for cracking down on the fraudulent few who, with the help of Big Food, big retail chains and questionable certifiers give organics a bad name. But they also want stronger standards, and better enforcement—not a plan to weaken standards to accommodate "Factory Farm Organic."