Massive Bonfire Honors The Lives Of 7,000 Elephants And Rhinos
"Kenya is making a statement that, for us, ivory is worthless unless it is on our elephants."
The above declaration was made by Uhuru Kenyatta, the president of Kenya, just before he set afire the first of several piles of elephant ivory and rhino horn, totaling more than 105 tons, on Saturday.
Kenya's Nairobi National Park was home to this display, the biggest ivory burning in history, where several towers of smoldering ivory and horn products represented about 6,500 elephants and 450 rhinos who lost their lives to poachers.
This weekend's ivory burn in Kenya followed shortly after a demonstration made by the country of Cameroon, where 2,000 elephant tusks and other ivory products were also burned.
The country isn't just stopping at burning ivory either - at the upcoming Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) meeting in South Africa, Kenya is seeking to enact a total world ban on ivory sales, Reuters reported.
Thousands of endangered African elephants die every year because of poachers hunting them for their ivory tusks. It's an ongoing crisis despite a ban on the international ivory trade. Rhino poaching levels are also seeing an exponential increase and have spread across several African countries - in 2015 alone, the total number of rhinos poached in Africa was the highest it has been in two decades.
While this historic burning was met with some controversy, the overall message of the act remains crystal clear: We have to continue to fight for elephant and rhino lives before they're driven to extinction.
"We shouldn't have to burn 105 tons of ivory and 1.5 tons of rhino horn," Richard Leakey, one of Kenya's leading conservationists, told the New York Times.
"It is a disgraceful shame this continues," he said.
Check out this video about the happiest little rescue elephant who beat the odds: