The environmental news of the week was the burning of 105 tonnes of ivory and rhino horn in Kenya’s capital Nairobi. Many conservationists around the world have praised Kenya’s decision as an important step that is in line with global efforts to preserve animals.
It is time we appreciate that by burning its entire ivory stockpile, Kenya sent a powerful message that it will never benefit from illegal ivory seized from smugglers.
While some critics argued that it would be more prudent to sell the ivory stockpiles, the failure to torch the wildlife trophies would have signified Kenya endorsement of the illegal trade. Kenya made the right decision because just as is the case with other countries it is impossible to sell the ivory as the rest of the world abides by the international convention which has banned trade in ivory.
At the time Kenya is getting praises for a decision it has made, it is worrying to learn that Malawi – despite telling the whole world last year that it will burn its 4.1 tonne ivory – is still failing to be practical about what it announced.
By continuing to make excuses on its failure to torch ivory, Malawi needs to follow in the footsteps of other countries that have lived up to their promises of burning illegal ivory. Failure to burn the ivory which unfortunately is tainted as it was seized from criminals raises more questions than answers.
The pertinent question being asked is why government is reluctant to burn the stockpile, which it has all along been promising to destroy.