It may take longer than an afternoon of ceremony to burn an elephant tusk to a crisp (actually the process of destroying ivory involves many days of exposure to intense temperatures in furnaces designed to withstand such heat). Even still the embers remain and serve as a fervent reminder of just how incensed the public has become with the continued killing of our beloved elephants (and rhinos).
This is definitely the intent of their message with the announcement of Kenya’s “Elephant Ivory and Rhino Horn Burn” on the 30th of April 2016 with the promise that this latest confiscated cache will be the largest pyre of ivory yet. Approximately 106 tons of elephant tusks and 1.35 tons of rhino horn will be the basis of that pyre.
Prior to the burning, an inaugural summit will be held on 29 April 2016 by representatives of The Giants Club with the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, opening the 2 day event. Those gathering in the African nation include “leading CEO’s, philanthropists, conservationists and celebrities ( actors Leonardo DiCaprio & Nicole Kidman and multimillionaires / billionaires such as Howard Buffett and George Soros are rumored to be in attendance ).
This “event will be one of the biggest government-led conservation conferences in Africa’s history.” The need, for the sake of our elephants, is that great.
The message has been espoused since 1989 and is the only way to stop the annihilation of our elephants. By denouncing any “economic value” assigned to the ivory from elephant tusks and from rhino horns, a value that poachers have risked countless lives for (including their own), African leaders will “ensure that no one will ever profit from” the illegal ivory trade.
“When coupled* with the seizure of ivory, and the prosecution and conviction of offenders, it sends a very powerful message that Kenya does not, and will not, tolerate this illegal trade, and that illegal traders now face significant risks along the entire illegal supply chain- in source, transit and destination States.”
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has a publication called Dead or Alive? through their iworry campaign. This report creates an awareness unlike any other anti-poaching sentiment.
If one must look at the value of an elephant in “financial terms” one is shown (in the report) how a “living elephant” is worth “76 times more” than that of a “dead elephant” factoring in the tourism dollars (to travel companies, airlines and local economies) generated over the life of one elephant ($1,607,624.83) versus the “raw value” ($21,000.00) of an average 5kg (11.0231 lbs.) ivory elephant tusk.
How much more valid of an argument is that?
While the stronghold continues one cannot fail to support these organizations and great leaders who will fight for our elephants. But we cannot back down, not ever, as long as just one elephant life is lost to poaching. I worry. Yes, we all worry still.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
Photo credits: CC Flickr elephant dollar bill, ele unreal $25, Two elephants & ele close up both by wwarby ; featured photo of ivory burn is of a similar event held in the Republic of Congo in Africa, CC Wikipedia; similar ivory burn in West Africa photo 1 & photo 2, CC Flickr
*the actual destruction / burning of the ivory itself