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Wildlife conservation groups laud burning of 15 tones of ivory

05 March 2015, 08:07

Nairobi - Wildlife conservation groups on Wednesday lauded Kenya's burning of 15 tones of confiscated ivory which they said showed commitment and political will to tackle illegal ivory trade and other wildlife crimes.

On Tuesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta burned 15 tones of ivory in the Nairobi National Park to mark the World Wildlife Day.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the Africa Wildlife Foundation (AWF), Save The Elephants and WildlifeDirect praised the burning and welcomed Kenyatta's pledge to destroy all ivory stockpile in the country by the end of this year.

"By destroying the ivory stockpile, Kenya makes a massive contribution to the global movement to ultimately end the ivory trade," IFAW CEO Azzedine Downes said.

The destruction of the ivory comes at a time when elephant poaching has soared in recent years. It is estimated that more than 35,000 elephants are killed every year across Africa.

Worse still is the seizures of illegal ivory on a global level continue to increase year by year, according to the IFAW.

Most illegal ivory go to Asia, where it has surged in value as an investment vehicle with the name "white gold".

China last month announced a one-year ban on imports of African ivory carvings.

The illegal wildlife trade generates an estimated 19 billion U. S. dollars a year, ranking fourth on the list of the most lucrative illegal activities in the world behind drugs, counterfeiting and human trafficking.

Also read: Uhuru sets 15 tonnes of elephant tusks on fire

As part of a worldwide capacity building project, the IFAW is training law enforcement officers in wildlife trafficking prevention in several countries throughout Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Oceania, and the Caribbean.

Iain Douglas-Hamilton, CEO of Save The Elephants, said the demand for ivory in recent years has been skyrocketing, especially in the Far East where a kilo of ivory fetches 2000 U.S. dollars in the black market.

Douglas-Hamilton said unless the demand is reduced, can the elephants be protected.

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- Xinhua


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