As part of a new initiative to stop illegal poaching, Kenyans set 15 tons of elephant ivory and rhino horns on fire. The order came directly from President Uhuru Kenyatta in an attempt to protect the remaining population of these species in East Africa’s wildlife. The President also reports that the rest of the ivory supply will be burned within the year.
Poaching is a very serious issue, as it is the reason behind why the population of elephants in the wildlife are decreasing. According to the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, African elephants are considered to be classified as vulnerable, with about 470,000 left in the wild in 37 countries.
An article from Bloomberg Business discusses figures from the United Nations Congress on International Trade in Endangered Species that show how the poaching of these animals is reducing their population faster than they can reproduce. The trade is worth as much as $188 million a year. The article also uses statistics from the Kenya Wildlife Serves that describes how poachers killed 164 elephants in Kenya last year. The number is seen to be decreasing as compared with 302 in 2013 and 384 in 2012. Meanwhile, in 2014, 53 rhinos were killed as compared with 59 and 30 in the previous years.
If you want to learn more, here is a short video detailing poaching in Kenya: click here.
Kenya has imposed stiffer penalties if caught poaching, which now include larger fines to pay and longer jail sentences fines. Reuters details the first sentencing since the new anti-poaching law to have occurred in January 2014 with a strict order to pay a hefty fine of a couple million shillings or spend time in jail. It is reported that Kenya might have up to 100 tons of ivory to burn before the year is up.