Eleven giant pyres of tusks went up in smoke in Kenya yesterday, as the nation torched its vast ivory stockpile in a grand gesture aimed at shocking the world into stopping the slaughter of elephants.
Huge white clouds of smoke spiralled into the sky as the flames took hold, fuelled by thousands of litres of diesel and kerosene injected through steel pipes.
Lighting the fire in Nairobi’s national park, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta demanded a total ban on trade in ivory to end the “murderous” trafficking and prevent the extinction of elephants in the wild.
“The height of the pile of ivory before us marks the strength of our resolve,” Mr Kenyatta said, before thrusting a burning torch onto the ivory.
“No-one, and I repeat no-one, has any business in trading in ivory, for this trade means death of our elephants and death of our natural heritage.”
The tusks are expected to burn for days.
On Firday, Mr Kenyatta led a summit of African heads of state and conservationists pushing for a total ban.
“We will not be the Africans who stood by as we lost our elephants,” he said.
The bonfires are the largest-ever torching of ivory, containing 105 tonnes from thousands of dead elephants, seven times bigger than any stockpile burned before.
Another 1.35 tonnes of rhino horn were also being burned, representing the killing of around 340 of the endangered animals.
President Ali Bongo from Gabon, who lit one of the pyres, spoke of the “massacre” of forest elephants in central Africa, and said he backed moves to stop the sale of all ivory.
“Unless we take action now we risk losing this magnificent animal,” Mr Bongo said at the ceremony, telling poachers he was “going to put you out of business, so the best thing you can do is to go into retirement now”.
Africa is home to between 450,000 to 500,000 elephants, but more than 30,000 are killed every year on the continent to satisfy demand for ivory in Asia, where raw tusks sell for around $1,000 a kilo.
“The bonfires are the largest-ever torching of ivory, containing 105 tonnes from thousands of dead elephants, seven times bigger than any stockpile burned before.”
i would have thought if you want to kill the price off you flood the market?
i would have thought taking 105 tones of ivory off the market you actually send the price up higher?
dont get me wrong..i am disgusted by ivory poachers..but this confuses me a little..the logic behind it..