Kenya is set to torch its massive ivory stockpile at a summit in April, which will be attended by political and business leaders as well as Hollywood celebrities, in a campaign against “poaching and illegal trade in ivory”.
Presidential spokesman Manoah Esipisu told reporters that the country will, “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”.
Hollywood stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Nicole Kidman, entrepreneurs George Soros, Paul Allen, Howard Buffet and Michael Bloomberg are expected to attend the event, to take place on April 29 and 30.
A host of other global icons are expected to attend the summit, which will see 120 tonnes of ivory being destroyed in a fire, in “a campaign to sustain the fight against poaching and the illegal trade in ivory,” Kenya’s Environment Cabinet Secretary, Professor Judi Wakhungu, reportedly said.
Elephant poaching in Kenya and other parts of Africa remains a huge proble, with figures estimating that more than 33,000 elephants are poached each year. Put more bluntly, one elephant is killed every 20 minutes as poachers try to get their tusks.
In a similar development, Sri Lanka this month destroyed 359 pieces of confiscated African elephant ivory weighing 1,529 kilograms, originating mostly from Tanzania and northern Mozambique, Cites noted. Sri Lanka formally apologised for its role in the illegal ivory trade.
Over the past two years other countries have destroyed stockpiles of illegally traded ivory. According to Cites, countries that have destroyed stockpiles of illegally traded elephant ivory that has been seized and confiscated include: Belgium, Chad, China, the Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Hong Kong SAR China, Kenya, Mozambique, the Philippines, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America.