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Kenya burns 15 tonnes of confiscated ivory in fighting poachers

Updated: 2015-03-04 15:03


Kenya burns 15 tonnes of confiscated ivory in fighting poachers

Fifteen tonnes of ivory confiscated from smugglers and poachers is burnt to mark World Wildlife Day at the Nairobi National Park March 3, 2015.[Photo/asianewsphoto]

NAIROBI - Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday set ablaze 15 tonnes of contraband ivory and vowed to intensify the ongoing war against wildlife crimes in the country.

Kenyatta burnt the ivory stockpile in the presence of dignitaries from government, foreign missions and conservation groups during the occasion to mark the World Wildlife Day.

"In the last three years, poaching and illicit wildlife trafficking have become a growing challenge for Kenya. These crimes threaten our biodiversity, security and peace," said the president.

Kenyatta said the East African nation has developed robust legal frameworks and invested in state-of-the-art technology to strengthen the war against wildlife crimes. He noted the passage of 2013 Wildlife Act, acquisition of new technology and recruitment of rangers have enhanced response to poaching.

Kenya is among African countries that have experienced an increase in poaching of elephants. Conservation groups have raised alarm that Kenya's elephant population has sharply declined due to poaching.

According to the UN Environment Program (UNEP), Africa was home to an estimated 500,000 elephants, but has been losing 30,000 annually from poaching.

The United Nations on December 20, 2013, declared March 3 World Wildlife Day as a celebration of wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of illegal trade.

The 2015 theme for World Wildlife Day is "Wildlife Crime is serious; let's get serious about wildlife crime".

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