On 30 April, the Kenyan government, with sponsorship from the African Wildlife Foundation, will destroy 105 tons of ivory and 1 ton of rhino horn to raise national and international awareness on the illegal wildlife trade.
Across the continent, elephant and rhino poaching has increased sharply due to demand for ivory and rhino horn products. More than 20,000 African elephants are killed annually by poachers for their ivory, with rhino poaching steadily increasing from 2007 to 2015.
“We are losing elephants and rhinos across Africa at an unsustainable rate,” says African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Kiwe Sebunya. “This historic event will draw global attention to the illegal wildlife trade, and it has already sparked a national discussion in Kenya and beyond about this issue. With the right political commitment and support of law enforcement, we can move toward a zero tolerance approach to wildlife crime.”
AWF has worked closely with the Kenyan Government to help the country curb poaching and wildlife trafficking, including:
- Training detection dogs and handlers deployed now within the Kenya Wildlife Service’s canine unit. Since January, the detection dogs have led to 18 seizures, mostly of ivory, but also pangolin scales, live tortoises and animal hides.
- Hosting workshops for prosecutors, magistrates, police and other members of the judicial and law enforcement community aimed at strengthening the prosecution of wildlife crimes and increasing the number of deterrent sentences. In Kenya, 50 magistrates and 35 prosecutors have so far taken part in the AWF-hosted judicial workshops.
- Supporting two critical populations of the Eastern black rhino in Kenya. AWF is also supporting the protection of a population of desert-adapted rhinos in Namibia and two populations of southern white rhinos in Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Editor’s note: AWF’s president is available for media interviews ahead of and during the ivory and rhino horn burn on April 30. To schedule an interview, contact Kathleen Garrigan at + 254 (0)704-382310 or [email protected], Images before and after the burn are also available upon request.
About the Kenyan Ivory and Rhino Horn Burn
The ivory and rhino horn destruction event will take place at 15:00hrs E.A.T. on Saturday, April 30, 2016 at the Ivory Burning Site inside Nairobi National Park.
(This article originally appeared on AWF. It has been reprinted here with permission.)