NAIROBI, March 2 (Xinhua) — Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta will on Tuesday set on fire over 15 tonnes of elephant tusks in order to help stem elephant poaching in the country.
The occasion will coincide with the World Wildlife Day which will be hosted by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) at the Nairobi National Park where the destruction of the ivory will take place.
“We cannot quantify in monetary terms the value of the consignment, because Kenya does not trade in ivory,” KWS Corporate Communications Manager Paul Udoto told Xinhua at the site where preparations for the torching of the ivory were taking place.
Cabinet Minister for Environment, Water and Natural Resources Judy Wakhungu who led a team of government officials to oversee preparations in readiness for the occasion said this is the third time for Kenya to destroy its stock of stored ivory to draw attention to poaching deaths.
In July 1989, former Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi ignited 12 tonnes of ivory that had been stored.
In July 2011, immediate former Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki set on fire a mound of more than five tonnes of elephant ivory numbering 335 tusks and 41,000 trinkets which had been confiscated in Singapore.
The 2011 burning, though hosted by Kenya, was carried out by Lusaka Agreement Task Force, a group of seven African countries that work to protect flora and fauna.
The burnt ivory was confiscated by officials in Singapore in 2002 and then sent to Kenya where DNA analysis determined that the tusks originated in Zambia and Malawi.
Udoto said the inferno will burn for five days under 24-hour guard, which will see the tusks reduced to charcoal.