The Kenyan government has called for any wildlife trophies that have been held without a license to be brought forward for the torching of the largest ivory stockpile in the world. The Environmental Cabinet Secretary of Kenya, Judi Wakhungu, has given those who are in possession of elephant ivory a 21-day time frame to bring forward their illegal trophies – if they co-operate, they will not be prosecuted. The ivory that has been secured is being held in a stockroom in Nairobi and will be torched on 30 April.
Elephant hunting and poaching (along with the exploration of the ivory trade) is illegal, yet people are continuing to do so, which poses a major threat to elephant populations. Despite the ban, elephants are still being poached in large numbers.
During the 1970s, there were 1900 elephants killed in Kenya for their ivory tusks. This number proceeded to increase to 8300 in the following decade. In 1989, the former president of Kenya, Daniel arap Moi, made a dramatic gesture to convince the world to eradicate the ivory trade by burning 12 tons of elephant tusks. In 1990, the Cites (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna) ban was put in place, which saw a decline in elephant killings. From 2006, there was a sudden upsurge in poaching and ivory trafficking, driven by increasing demand in Asia.
Prince William, who is president of United For Wildlife, teamed up with the global transportation industry in 2015, to develop a new crackdown on illegal wildlife trafficking routes. A declaration was then signed by around 40 airline, port, shipping and custom agencies along with conservation charities at Buckingham Palace. The declaration came up with an 11-point action plan to make it more difficult for traffickers to move their illegal goods around.
"We have faced up to the fact that if current trends continue, the last wild African elephants and rhinos will be killed before my daughter Charlotte reaches her 25th birthday," he told Reuters.
At the turn of the 20th century, there were a "few million African elephants, and about 100,0000 Asian elephants in existence, according to Defenders of Wildlife – that number has dropped dramatically. There are now only 450,000-700,000 African elephants and between 35,000-40,000 Asian elephants in the wild, according to the same source.