Kenya: KWS Ivory Count to Cost Sh45 Million


By Gilbert Koech, The Star

Date Published

The accumulated elephant ivory and rhino horn stockpiles retrieved from poachers or collected from wildlife that have died naturally will be known following the commissioning of a nationwide inventory exercise.

Environment CS Prof Judi Wakhungu said the inventory of the national stockpile requires meticulous planning.

“It is expected that the inventory exercise will take at least 45 working days and once the inventory exercise is complete, the results will be made available to KWS board and my office for approval and subsequent gazettement,” she said at KWS headquarters during the commissioning earlier this week.

KWS board chair Richard Leakey said Kenya holds about one and a half tonnes of rhino horn and more than 100 tonnes of elephant ivory.

Leakey said the exercise will cost Sh45 million.

The Wildlife Act 2013 requires KWS to undertake an annual audit of government trophy held in the country and publish the results of the audit in the Kenya Gazette.

Also, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, to which Kenya is a party, requires state parties to properly manage ivory within their jurisdiction.

Prof Wakhungu said the inventory process, which has already recorded 21,600 kilogrammes of ivory, is set to yield a digital national ivory and rhino horn database.

The Kenyan count comes months after more than a tonne of elephant ivory seized from poachers in Uganda was stolen from government strongrooms.

KWS acting director general William Kiprono said KWS will coordinate with other government agencies holding trophies to surrender them for inventory. Kiprono said maximum security will be provided to secure the trophies.

In March, President Uhuru set fire to 15 tonnes of elephant ivory to show Kenya is serious on combating poaching.