Kenya’s president has set fire to thousands of elephant tusks and rhino horns.
Plumes of smoke rose as the flames took hold of tusks piled up in a game reserve on the edge of the capital Nairobi. The fire destroyed around 105 tonnes of ivory from about 8000 animals, the biggest ever incineration of its kind.
Kenya did this to send a clear message to poachers – trade in the animal parts must be stopped!
President Uhuru Kenyatta dismissed those who argued Kenya should instead have sold the ivory and the tonne of rhino horn.
“Kenya is making a statement that for us ivory is worthless unless it is on our elephants,” he said.
Some estimated the tusks and horns would have an illegal market value of US$150 million (NZ$214 million).
Poaching is a deadly crime against wildlife. Tens of thousands of elephants are being killed every year for their ivory tusks. The ivory is often carved into ornaments and jewellery.
Kenya is seeking a total world ban on ivory sales when the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) meets in South Africa later this year.
CITES banned commercial trade in African elephant ivory in 1989, but since then has permitted one-off sales.