Leaders, conservationists meet ahead of ivory burn


Leaders, conservationists meet ahead of ivory burn

Political leaders, entrepreneurs, wildlife conservationists and diplomats from around the world are meeting in Nanyuki ahead of Saturday’s destruction of Kenya’s largest stockpile of ivory and rhino horns.

The participants will meet for the two-day Giants Club Summit, to discuss protection of Africa’s remaining elephants and ways to deter wildlife trafficking.

World leaders, philanthropists and other conservationists are expected to arrive in Nairobi starting Thursday, and will join the delegates to witness the destruction of the ivory, to be conducted by the Kenya Wildlife Service at the Nairobi National Park.

The event will see 105 tonnes of ivory and 1.35 tonnes of rhino horn set ablaze, in a move Kenya says will send a message against poaching, which threatens to wipe out the remaining elephants and rhinos in the country.

Last week, containers loaded with ivory from several parts of the country started arriving at the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) headquarters.

The containers from Voi, Mombasa, Nanyuki and other parts of the country were received by KWS Director General Kitili Mbathi for clearance, before being transported under heavy security to Nairobi National Park.

The event by the government is in protest at the continued slaughter of the country’s most iconic species.

The historic burn will be presided over by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

In a statement from State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu in March, Kenyatta said the summit will be the biggest of its kind in Africa’s history and a sign of sufficient political goodwill to collectively conserve wildlife.

“Poaching poses a threat to Kenya. Our wildlife, are terrorized and as a consequence, our people suffer. Both Kenya and Africa rely, in part, on our natural resources–including our wildlife-for the economic growth and development that is a pre-requisite for peace, security and stability. Among other things, we rely on our wildlife and environment for tourism. To many in the world, Kenya is majestic animals on the Maasai Mara, Great Tuskers of Tsavo, the northern bush country of Samburu and Laikipia and the white sands of our Coast,” read the statement in part.

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Maureen Murimi
Story By Maureen Murimi
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