Kenya set fire to $150 million worth of ivory and rhino horn

The president of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, set alight the tusks from over 8,000 illegally killed elephants and the horns of 343 rhinos in April

ivory burning, kenya,
Nairobi National Park, ivory burning site


There were 11 pyres of ivory tusks and one of rhino horn with a total estimated value of $150 million (roughly £103.5 million). The choice to burn these stockpiles rather than sell them sends a clear message that Kenya has absolutely no tolerance for the illegal ivory trade. Uhuru Kenyatta said he hoped it would show the world that ivory is worthless unless it is on Kenya’s elephants.

Some people have argued that releasing the ivory for sale and flooding the market to drive the price of ivory down would have been a better option. It was even suggested the proceeds be used to better protect their wildlife.

However, Kenya has been clear that they do not think ivory should have any commercial value. A temporary lifting of the international ban in 2007 led to an increase in the ivory trade – now many countries are keen to not make the same mistake.

Smaller burn in congo 5 tonnes
Five tonnes of ivory was burned in Congo last year


Additionally, stockpile destruction fortifies the credibility of the ongoing campaigns to reduce demand in Asia. The first public destruction event was held in 1989 in Kenya. Since then, there have been 28 ivory crushes and burns carried out by 21 nations.


Photographs: NinaraInternational Fund for Anim

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