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Fire fighters watch the fire at the site of burning ivory and rhino horn in Nairobi | Coastweek

NAIROBI (Xinhua)-- Fire fighters watch the fire at the site of burning ivory and rhino horn in Nairobi. Kenya on Saturday torched at least 105 tons of ivory and 1.3 tons of rhino horn to reinforce Kenya's commitment to eradicate the menace of poaching. XINHUA PHOTO - SUN RUIBO

Kenya burns huge stockpile of ivory declare war against poaching

Kenya burns huge stockpile of ivory declare war against poaching

By Christine Lagat NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday presided over the burning of 105 tons of elephant tusks and 1.3 tons of rhino horns in a ceremony attended by conservation luminaries, business moguls and celebrities from around the globe.

President Ali Bongo of Gabon and senior officials from African elephant range states attended the historic torching of ivory and rhino horns that sought to re-enforce Kenya's commitment to eradicate wildlife crimes.

The Kenyan leader said the burning of the largest stockpile of trophies in living memory reaffirmed his country's resolve to eradicate poaching that posed a mortal threat to survival of iconic mammals.

"We have witnessed huge loss of African elephants in the last decade due to poaching.

"This menace threatens stability of our states and communities," Kenyatta remarked.

Kenya broke the world record by burning tons of elephant tusks and rhino horns whose market value was estimated at over 500 million U.S. dollars.

President Kenyatta said the burning of trophies was meant to reaffirm that Kenya does not place monetary value on its iconic wildlife species and will always go a step further to conserve them.

"Kenya has taken a firm stand and declared that ivory is worthless unless it is on the elephant.

"The future generations will appreciate the decision we have taken," said Kenyatta.

He added that Kenya will rally behind international campaigns to push for a total ban on trade in ivory and other wildlife products.

"Our next steps after the ivory burn will be centered on strengthening law enforcement to fight poaching.

"We are going to lobby for a total ban on ivory trade during the CITES meeting to be held in September in South Africa," Kenyatta told wildlife campaigners

On his part, President of Gabon Ali Bongo hailed Kenya's decision to set ablaze a huge stockpile of ivory adding that African countries must take radical steps to secure their wildlife heritage.

"Ivory trade must be stopped to help secure the future of our elephants and rhinos that are a symbol of our collective heritage," Bongo remarked.

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