In Photos: The Largest Burning of Ivory in History


Frederick Paxton and Ben Bryant, VICE

Date Published

See link for photos.

Kenya torched 105 tons of ivory worth an estimated $105 million over the weekend in a bid to highlight the impact of poaching. Eleven piles of ivory, representing the tusks of more than 6,700 elephants, were reduced to ashes on Saturday in the largest ivory burn ever seen.

The burn marked the close of the Giant’s Club summit of African leaders which began in Nanyuki, central Kenya, at which the country’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, urged his counterparts to help save elephants and rhinos from extinction.

The number of elephants roaming Africa has plunged from approximately 1.2 million in the 1970s to around 400,000 today. More than 30,000 elephants were poached each year between 2010 to 2012, threatening to wipe them out in some African regions.

“The rising value of elephant ivory trade, illegally on the international market, has resulted in a massacre in the rainforest of Africa,” Kenyatta told the invitation-only crowd on Saturday, as he called for an end to Africa’s illegal ivory trade.

In 10 years in central Africa we have lost as many as 70 percent of the elephants,” he said. “The elephant, as has been said, is an iconic symbol of our country. Unless we take action now we risk losing this magnificent animal.”