Posted on
17 May 2016
Leading up to the much hyped historic ivory and rhino horn burn (105T ivory and 1.35T, rhino horn) by the Kenyan government, WWF proved to be the one-stop shop for local and international media to get expert interviews around the illicit trade and the efforts being made to curb poaching. 

Giant's Club Summit

WWF was ably represented at the Giant's Club summit held at Mt. Kenya Safari Club at the foothills of Mt. Kenya in Nanyuki. The important summit was attended by three Heads of State; Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta, Uganda's Yoweri Museveni and Gabon's Ali Bongo Ondimba alongside conservation stakeholders. WWF's high powered delegation was led by Director General Marco Lambertini, Regional Director for Africa, Fred Kumah, CEO WWF- Kenya Mohamed Awer and Rhino Programme Coordinator, Martin Mulama.

The Burn

Last Saturday, April 30th 2016, Kenya hosted the world’s largest ivory burning event at the Nairobi National Park. This was intended to send a message to poachers, sellers and ivory consumers that Kenya will not stand for the illegal ivory trade.
11 pyres held 105 tons of neatly stacked elephant tusks and 1 pyre holding 1.35 tons of rhino horns.  
According to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), the ivory represents 8,000 elephants and more than 300 rhinos. 
The burning event was attended by Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and Ali Bongo Ondimba. Also present were high-ranking United Nations, US and European officials, and charities. WWF Director General Marco Lambertini shared his views on the ivory burn as well as WWF's position on ivory destruction events to several international media outlets. 
WWF was one of the conservation organizations that took part in the ivory burn exhibition. Our main aim was to showcase our efforts in the conservation of elephants and rhinos in the country. We displayed materials that showed some key areas that we have invested in to ensure that our wildlife is protected. Other organizations that were exhibiting include: Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association (KWCA), David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Save The Elephants, East Africa Wildlife Society, KWS, Space for Giants, The Nature Conservancy, IFAW, Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) and NEMA.

Post-Burn Cocktail 

WWF organized a post-burn cocktail event to recap on the occasion. It was an invite-only event held at the Ole Sereni Hotel, a befitting venue just overlooking Nairobi National Park. Marco Lambertini was the Chief Guest and also present from the WWF team was Fred Kumah, Mohamed Awer, several nominated board members, the senior management team and other staff. Jared Bosire, WWF-Kenya Conservation Director was the MC for the night. Speeches followed from key influential people in the conservation community in Kenya.
Conservation champion, actor, singer and CEO of Young Animal Rescue Heroes(YARH), Luca Berardi was present with his amazing mother. He even attracted U.S Ambassador to Kenya, Bob Godec and U.S Deputy Secretary of State Department, Heather Higginbottom to the event. What a lad!
The speakers for the cocktail included Steve Itela (Chair, Conservation Alliance of Kenya), Christian Lambrechts (CEO, Rhino Ark), Patrick Omondi (KWS Deputy Director Species Conservation & Management), Fred, Mohamed and Marco.
The unanimous conclusion from speeches throughout the day echoed the message that there still remains a lot of work to be done to safeguard threatened species. However, the burn was an important symbol to the world that Kenya will not tolerate or benefit from illegal wildlife trade. Moving beyond the burn, investment and reinforcement is needed to fight wildlife crimes.
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