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KWS proud of Gabonese action of burning ivory
Date Published: 29 Jun, 2012
Kenya Wildlife Service is proud of the resolve of Gabon to set fire to the country's government-owned ivory stockpile on Wednesday, sending a message to elephant poachers that illegal wildlife trafficking will not be tolerated in the Central African country.
The burned ivory stock totalled 4,825 kilograms (4.8 metric tonnes), including 1,293 pieces of rough elephant tusks and 17,730 pieces of carved ivory.
Kenya has conducted two such burns of government-held ivory. The first one was in 1989 by retired President Daniel arap Moi of its own ivory and again in 2011 by President Mwai Kibaki under the auspices of the Lusaka Task Force Agreement (LATF).
This week’s action by the Gabonese government is to be seen against the backdrop of elephant poaching levels being the worst in a decade and recorded ivory seizures being at their highest levels since 1989, according to a report published June 21 by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, CITES.
The findings, based on information submitted by governments, will be discussed at a CITES Standing Committee meeting to be held in Geneva next month (July).
Kenya looks forward to many other African range states following her own example and that of Gabon and the collective one by the LATF Council in sending out a fiery message that ivory smuggling and killing of elephants have no place in the world.
We are particularly keen that the African continent presents a unified voice about trade in ivory at the forthcoming CITES meeting in Bangkok Thailand in March 2013. This is particularly imperative given that the year 2011 was the worst for the African elephant in recent history while the continent as a whole is in the throes of an elephant poaching crisis.
We believe that permitting legal ivory sales masks illegal sales and encourages poaching and we are paying the price for the 2007 CITES decision in the Hague.