Kenya to Retain Part of Its Ivory Stockpile
Kenya has announced it will retain some of last year’s 137-tonne ivory and rhino horn inventory, ahead of an event that was expected to see the entire stockpile destroyed.
A twenty-five-tonne portion is required as part of ongoing court cases while Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has said it will save the largest tusks for educational and research purposes.
Ivory to be burned
President Uhuru Kenyatta will lead an event on Saturday to burn 105 tonnes of ivory and 1.35 tonnes of rhino horns. In addition to the 25 tonnes being required for court cases, KWS will preserve almost seven tonnes of the larger elephant tusks.
The organisation will hold on to tusks weighing more than 50 kilograms – an increasingly rare find in elephants.
“The early poachers and game hunters in the early century have gradually taken away the genes of the big tuskers,” KWS director general Kitili Mbathi said this week.
“Unfortunately, today we have found that the tusks on our elephants continue to grow smaller. We believe the elephants have been mutating in response to the threat they face of going extinct. Most of the mature elephants we have left now carry tusks weighing only about 20 kilograms,” he added.
KWS urges Kenyans to surrender ivory and horns
KWS officials have urged all Kenyans in possession of elephant tusks and rhino horns to surrender their supplies by Saturday. Director Mbathi said he had received several tusks from anonymous individuals but fears many are holding on to supplies for fear of prosecution.
Last month, the Kenyan government issued a 21-day period amnesty to anyone who surrenders their “wildlife trophies”. Kenyans can hand over their items without the risk of prosecution up until the deadline on Saturday – after which people found in possession will face the law.
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