Thursday, May 6

Illegal Ivory goes up in smoke in anti-poaching drive

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Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki led regional wildlife conservation representatives in burning contraband ivory in Tsavo West National Park in August in a gesture aimed at reinforcing world efforts to get poaching stopped. The bulk of the contraband ivory was seized in Singapore and was found to have originated mainly from Malawi and Zambia.

The huge fire is the first regional exercise of this kind and the third in Africa after Kenya’s in 1989 and Zambia in 1992. It was the climax of the first-ever African Elephant Law Enforcement Day celebrations on the theme: ‘Fostering cooperation to combat elephant poaching and ivory trafficking in Africa’.

The day has been set aside to recognise the plight of the endangered African elephant and to celebrate its importance and appreciate challenges faced in its conservation. The celebrations focus on demonstrating solidarity with wildlife law enforcers as they strive to curtail elephant poaching and illegal ivory trade as well as other wildlife products.

United Nations treaty regulations don’t allow commercial trade in illegally acquired ivory or any other seized wildlife contraband specimens but provide for its use for scientific, educational and law enforcement purposes. It also allows the destruction of such ivory since it has no commercial value.

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