Kenya’s Historic Ivory Destruction a Powerful Statement Against Wildlife Crime

In response to Kenya’s destruction of more than 100 tons of elephant ivory and one and half tons of rhino horn today – the biggest ever event of its kind – World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued the following statement from Ginette Hemley, senior vice president of Wildlife Conservation:

“Destroying such a vast stockpile of ivory and rhino horn sends a powerful signal that Kenya is committed to saving Africa’s most iconic species. At the same time, it’s a jarring reminder of the scale of the poaching epidemic that is emptying Africa’s forests and savannahs of precious wildlife.

“This dramatic action indicates that Kenya will take every possible step to safeguard its elephants for future generations, and highlights that it is on the right track in the fight against wildlife crime. Even as poaching across Africa hovers near record levels, the number of elephants and rhinos illegally killed in Kenya dropped almost by half from 2014 to 2015.

“But much more needs to be done, both in the places these animals are being killed, as well as in those countries where wildlife products are in high demand. The US, China, and Hong Kong recently stepped up with commitments to eliminate their own domestic ivory markets. Now all eyes are on these demand countries to show increasing leadership in the global fight against the illegal killing and trafficking of wildlife.

“Ultimately, it is through unified commitment and collaboration that we will make the most progress toward ending wildlife crime. Only by together addressing the poaching, trafficking, and demand will we be able to secure a future for elephants, rhinos, and countless other species threatened by this scourge.”