The world’s largest ivory burn is happening in Kenya on Saturday


A traditionally dressed Maasai tribesman holds an elephant tusk, part of an estimated 105 tons of confiscated ivory to be set ablaze, at Nairobi National Park in Kenya, on April 28.  (Thomas Mukoya/Reuters)

NAIROBI — On Saturday, Kenyan wildlife officials will set more than 105 tons of elephant and rhino ivory on fire — a display intended to combat the growing threat of poaching.

The market for ivory across much of Asia, and particularly China, has remained strong in recent years, driving poachers in sub-Saharan Africa to kill an enormous number of vulnerable species. The ivory burn is intended as a condemnation of that booming market. By some measures, the ivory being incinerated in Nairobi would be worth more than $150 million.

“From a Kenyan perspective, we’re not watching any money go up in smoke,” Kenya Wildlife Service Director General Kitili Mbathi told CNN. “The only value of the ivory is tusks on a live elephant.”

Between 2010 and 2012, poachers killed more than 100,000 African elephants, according to research from a team led by George Wittemyer of Colorado State University. It is a level of destruction that put the species on the road to extinction.

Kenyan wildlife officials say they hope the attention that the ivory burn is receiving will jolt potential

Article source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/04/29/why-is-kenya-about-to-set-100-million-in-ivory-on-fire/

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