Kenya to destroy vast ivory stockpile

2015-11-16 19:04
A front end loader dumps confiscated ivory into a giant rock crusher to be pulverized, at the National Wildlife Property Repository. (File, AP)

A front end loader dumps confiscated ivory into a giant rock crusher to be pulverized, at the National Wildlife Property Repository. (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Nairobi - Kenya's wildlife authority on Monday vowed to destroy the east African country's vast ivory stockpile from several thousand elephants, nine times more than the largest pile torched so far.

President Uhuru Kenyatta set fire in March to a giant pile of 15 tons of elephant ivory, which conservationists said then was the largest ever burned in Africa.

The promised destruction of the remaining stockpile of 137 tons of ivory would dwarf that.

Veteran conservationist Richard Leakey, chair of the government's Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), said the ivory would be destroyed in the year ahead.

Kenyatta, when he torched the last pile of ivory, said the stockpile would be destroyed this year, but Leakey said that it had taken longer than expected to prepare.

"I am absolutely sure" it will be destroyed, Leakey told reporters, promising "quite a dramatic event", without giving further details.

Leakey said the average weight of the elephant's pair of tusks was around 36kg, meaning the stockpile represents the death of around 3 820 animals.

But other conservationists put a tusk's weight to be now far lower, meaning the stockpile could represent the deaths of even double that number.

Natural and poached

The ivory includes tusks seized from poachers and from animals who died naturally.

Leakey, a world famous paleontologist, said he was also hopeful a film by Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie about his life would be filmed in Kenya, saying a script packed full of romance and violence was being toned down.

"I have a reputation for having had a fairly full life but not nearly as full as that," the 70-year old said, who refused to confirm rumours Brad Pitt was tipped to play him in the film.

"I wish I could tell you yes or no... he may not like the new script, he was the one having a good time so maybe in the new one, he might not like it," he joked.

Ivory is sought out for jewellery and decorative objects and much of it is smuggled to China, where many increasingly wealthy shoppers are buying ivory trinkets as a sign of financial success.

Kenya's stockpile, if illegally sold on the black market at current prices, could be worth around $270m, but conservationists say sale of ivory only serves to fuel further poaching.

Read more on:    kenya wildlife service  |  kenya  |  poaching  |  east africa  |  conservation

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.