Kenya to torch largest ever stockpile of ivory – worth $270 million

An estimated 3,000 elephants are still killed for their ivory each year in Kenya, despite ivory trade being banned in 1989

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The Independent Online

Kenya’s wildlife authority said it will destroy its vast ivory stockpile, worth £270 million and equating to the equivalent of 4,000 dead elephants.

The event will take place at an anti-poaching summit in at the end of April and will be attended by Hollywood celebrities, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Elton John and Nicole Kidman. 

The fire is expeced to be eight the times the size of any other ivory stockpile that has been destroyed so far.

Among celebrities, several heads of state are expected to attending the symbolic burning of the 120 tonnes, reported IBTimes.

In March, more than 15 tonnes of ivory that had been confiscated from smugglers and poachers, which President Uhuru Kenyatta burnt to mark World Wildlife day at the Nairobi National Park.

The fire reportedly made a three metre (10 ft) fire, which burned for days. 

He said: “We want future generations of Kenyans, Africans and indeed the entire world to experience the majesty and beauty of these magnificent animals.”

Chairman of Kenya Wildlife Servce, Richard Leaky, said the average weight of a pair of tusks was around 36 kilos, meaning the pile would equate to 4,000 elephants. 

It is thought up to 30,000 elephants are still killed each year and ivory is still smuggled into other countries in Asia where it is used as precious ornaments and decoration, despite a ban on trading ivory in 1989 and a huge increases in anti-poaching programmes and awareness in Africa. 

According to EcoWatch, there are estimated to be only 30,000 elephants in Kenya, compared to around 167,000 in the 1970s.