Torch those tusks, Tanzania told

Experts warn that the African elephant could be wiped out in 20 years. Photo: Daniel Hayduk

If the downward trajectory in the elephant population continues, Tanzania could be without elephants in four years. It’s time Tanzania torches it’s stockpile of ivory, thought to be the largest in the world, says a campaign group. Photo: Daniel Hayduk

On Saturday, April 30, political leaders and dignitaries will flock to Nairobi National Park in Kenya to witness the burning of over 100 tonnes of ivory and rhino horn.

“Kenya leads the world by destroying its entire stockpile of elephant ivory and rhino horn. We call on the government of Tanzania to follow the example of our neighbours and other African countries and make history by destroying its ivory stockpile, which is even larger than Kenya’s,” says campaign group OKOA Tembo wa Tanzania (Save Tanzania’s Elephants.)

Tanzania’s ivory stockpile is believed to be the largest in the world.

Stockpiling ivory encourages illegal ivory traders that the trade will resume, says OKOA Tembo wa Tanzania, which has previously warned that elephants could disappear from Tanzania within four years.

“Destroying the stockpile sends a strong message to elephant poachers, ivory traders, and consumers that ivory has no monetary value, and that the poaching of elephants is an unacceptable crime,” the group wrote in an open letter to president John Magufuli last November.

Kenya’s burn will include ‘every single piece of ivory’ except for what is still needed as evidence in ongoing court cases, says Kenya Wildlife Service chairman Richard Leakey, speaking to Reuters.

“We will burn this ivory and it will be seen by the whole world,” says Leakey.

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About the Author

Daniel Hayduk

Daniel is Dar Post’s news director. When not in the newsroom, he spends his days helping NGOs across the continent find their creative side.