Ivory burning in Kenya – level 3
This is over 100 tons of ivory gone up in flames. Kenya has burnt this seized ivory to show its commitment to saving Africa’s elephants. The country’s president ignited the first of 11 huge stockpiles in Nairobi National Park, which are expected to burn for several days.
He was joined by African leaders, celebrities, and conservationists to watch the pyres being lit.
The confiscated ivory amounts to the tusks of about 7,000 elephants.
Before igniting the first pyre, Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta spoke:
“The height of the pile of ivory before us marks the strength of our resolve. Before you, ladies and gentlemen, is the largest haul of ivory and horn ever to be destroyed in this manner. And our reason is crystal clear – no one, and I repeat again, no one has any business trading in ivory, for this trade means death, death of our elephants and death of our natural heritage.”
The burning comes after African leaders meeting in Kenya urged an end to illegal trade in ivory. Experts have warned Africa’s elephants could be extinct within decades. But some conservationists have expressed opposition to the ivory burn Kenya, the biggest in history. They say destroying so much of a rare commodity could increase its value and encourage more poaching rather than less.
Botswana, which is home to about half of Africa’s elephants, is opposed to the burn and its president did not attend the event in Nairobi.
Demand for ivory comes largely from Asia, with the main trafficking route being through the Kenyan port of Mombasa.
Difficult words: ivory (the white material of an elephant’s tusks), seize (to take something officially), ignite (to set on fire), huge (very big), stockpile (a large amount of something), pyre (a lot of material which can burn), tusks (the horns that come out of the front of an animal, such as an elephant),haul (a lot of something), crystal clear (obvious), heritage (something which you get from the previous generations), urge (to ask for something strongly), commodity (a raw material).
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