Kenya urged to declare rhino horn, elephant ivory stock


Gilbert Koech, The Star

Date Published

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Kenya is among countries that have been urged to declare their elephant ivory and rhino stock.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora has given parties up to February 28 to declare all stock.

“The purpose of the notification is to remind parties on conservation of and trade in African and Asian rhinoceroses to identify, mark, register and secure such stock and declare these to the Secretariat each year,” states a notification on rhino horns.

The two notifications by CITES — one on rhino horns and another on elephants ivory — are dated December 29. Environment CS Judi Wakhungu told the Star on the phone Kenya set international standards by torching ivory and rhino horns.

“We kindly expect other countries to follow suit,” Wakhungu said from Washington yesterday.

The CS cited the move where President Uhuru Kenyatta torched a tonne of rhino horns and another 105 tonnes of ivory.

The April 30, 2016, torching was aimed at showing Kenya’s commitment “to fighting wildlife crime and putting wildlife products beyond any economic use”.

Wakhungu said, “elephant ivory and rhino horns are worthless once hacked from iconic species by poachers, but has more value on live elephants and rhinos.”

The CS said all ivory has been set on fire.

However, ivory from elephants and rhinos that have died of natural causes will be declared.

Cites has recommended to parties that whole tusks of any size, and cut pieces of ivory that are both 20cm or more in length and one kilo or more in weight, be marked by means of punch-dies, indelible ink, or other form of permanent marking.

To be included in the ivory inventory are the country-of-origin and the last two digits of the year.

Cites is an international agreement between governments whose aim is to ensure trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

Its Secretariat, where possible, assists parties that have stock of rhino horn with control by providing technical advice and relevant information.

The Secretariat is administered by Unep and is located at Geneva, Switzerland. Cites has developed and circulated a model table to be used by parties for reporting the inventory of ivory to the Secretariat.

Kenya is one of the 183 parties to the convention having ratified it on December 13, 1978, before it came into force on March 13, 1979.