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Environment

Up in smoke – the largest stockpile of ivory will be burned in Kenya tomorrow

AP Photo/Ben Curtis

The largest ivory burning in history is taking place this weekend in Kenya to highlight the extent of the poaching crisis.

Over 12,000 tusks from elephants illegally poached and killed will be burned on Saturday April 30th.

The aerial photos of the setup alone are enough to shock the world into realizing how massive the ivory poaching crisis is throughout African countries like Kenya.

In the photo above there are 11 pyres consisting of 105 tonnes of elephant tusks, and 1.35 tonnes of rhino horn.

The burning will take place in Nairobi national park and will include onlookers like Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta,  various other heads of state such as Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, members of the UN, charities and, it’s rumored, activists like Lupita Nyong’o.

In all, delegates from over 170 nations will be present to witness the burning. In addition to opening the eyes of the world to the scale of this epidemic, the event also represents a moment for Kenya to show they know how to take action against poaching.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for us to show the world that we know how to stop poaching, and for the world to stand alongside us and help us to make it happen,” Kenya's Environmental Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu told Daily Nation.

The amount of horn's being burned is staggering, which has spark discussion among the global community. Trending conversations #WorthMoreAlive, and #LightAFire reflect the deep sadness and frustration both the Kenyan and global community feel regarding continued illegal poaching.

“The future of the African elephant and rhino is far from secure so long as demand for their products continues to exist,” said Kenyan President Kenyatta when he announced that he will seek a total ban on ivory trading.

The global market and demand for ivory is the real problem. While poaching is enabled by organized crime and corruption, the demand in global markets for ivory is the driving factor for the continued exploitation and killing of precious wildlife such as elephants, rhinos, and lions.

All animals are #WorthMoreAlive. Let’s hope this symbolic ceremony for more than 6,000 elephants slaughtered for one part of their body is a wake-up call to the world to end the trade and sale of ivory around the world.