Kenyan authorities are preparing to burn more than 100 tons of elephant tusks. Twelve towering pyres will be set alight on Saturday (30 April), in the largest single destruction of ivory in history. In front of the tusks are illegally-made ornaments, made from ivory, such as a carved Chinese warrior on horseback. A further ton of rhino horns will also be destroyed.

Kenya ivory
A ranger carries an elephant tusk towards one of the pyres.Thomas Mukoya/Reuters
Kenya ivory
Carved ivory figurines are seen in front of the pyres.Thomas Mukoya/Reuters
Kenya ivory
Carved ivory is prepared for burning at Nairobi National Park.Thomas Mukoya/Reuters
Kenya ivory
A Kenya Wildlife Service ranger stacks confiscated elephant tusks onto a pyre.Thomas Mukoya/Reuters
Kenya ivory
Maasai tribesmen pose for a photograph near piles of elephant tusks.Thomas Mukoya/Reuters
Kenya ivory
A Kenya Wildlife Services ranger stands guard in front of elephant tusks and ivory figurines.Tony Karumba/AFP
Kenya ivory
Kenya Wildlife Services personnel stack elephant tusks onto pyres.Tony Karumba/AFP
Kenya ivory
Kenya Wildlife Services rangers pile up elephant ivory onto a pyre.Tony Karumba/AFP
Kenya ivory
An aerial view shows illegal stockpiles of ivory stacked up onto 10 pyres in Nairobi National Park.Tony Karumba/AFP

The ivory and rhino horn were transported in shipping containers from across Kenya, representing the vast majority of the country's stockpile.

Dignitaries led by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta will light a fuel gel which will flow into the centre of each pyre and ignite pieces of confiscated endangered African sandalwood. A mixture of diesel and kerosene will be pumped through pipes into each pyre, creating a sufficiently high temperature to incinerate the ivory, a process expected to last many days before everything is reduced to ashes.

Kenya ivory
A man takes an elephant tusk to a pile of confiscated ivory.Thomas Mukoya/Reuters
Kenya ivory
A man carries an elephant tusk to a pyre at Nairobi National Park.Thomas Mukoya/Reuters
Kenya ivory
Elephant tusks are loaded on a pick-up truck at the Kenya Wildlife Service headquarters.Thomas Mukoya/Reuters
Kenya ivory
A young volunteer carries an elephant tusk.Tony Karumba/AFP
Kenya ivory
Kenya Wildlife Services personnel offload elephant tusks from storage containers.Tony Karumba/AFP
Kenya ivory
A conservationist takes note of an elephant tusk's registration code as it is offloaded from a storage container and taken to a burning site.Tony Karumba/AFP
Kenya ivory
Confiscated ivory is moved to secure containers from an ivory stock room at the Kenya Wildlife Services headquarters in Nairobi.Carl de Souza/AFP
Kenya ivory
Kenya Wildlife Services director general Kitili Mbathi poses in a secure ivory stock room in Nairobi.Carl de Souza/AFP

The pyres will be lit at the end of the Giants Club summit on tackling poaching of the continent's giant animals, including elephants and rhinos. The meeting, attended by African leaders, scientists and conservationists, aims to showcase initiatives against poaching that have worked while also looking at new ways to eradicate poaching.

Kenya ivory
Wiildlife rangers with a sniffer dog demonstrate an anti-poaching exercise in Ol Pejeta Conservancy.Siegfried Modola/Reuters
Kenya ivory
Kenyan wildlife rangers demonstrate an anti-poaching exercise ahead of the Giants Club Summit.Siegfried Modola/Reuters
Kenya ivory
A wildlife ranger plays with a baby southern white rhino at Ol Pejeta Conservancy.Siegfried Modola/Reuters
Kenya ivory
A wildlife ranger strokes a northern white rhino, one of only three of its kind left in the world, at Ol Pejeta Conservancy.Siegfried Modola/Reuters

Conservationists worry that there is a a real threat of elephants becoming extinct in the next 50 years because of poaching bankrolled by the illegal trade in ivory, fuelled especially by demand in China.

Kenya ivory
A close-up of an elephant's tusks as it grazes in the Amboseli National ParkThomas Mukoya/Reuters
Kenya ivory
An elephant with a broken tusk grazes in the Amboseli National Park.Thomas Mukoya/Reuters
Kenya ivory
A herd of elephants walks through Amboseli National Park.Thomas Mukoya/Reuters
Kenya ivory
An elephant showers itself with dust in Amboseli National ParkThomas Mukoya/Reuters
Kenya ivory
An elephant feeds its calf at the Amboseli National Park in Kenya.Thomas Mukoya/Reuters
Kenya ivory
An elephant skeleton minus its tusks is pictured in Kora National Park in Kenya in January 2013.Ivan Lieman/AFP
Kenya ivory
Mutilated dead elephants, believed to have been killed by poachers, are pictured at a watering hole in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park in October 2015.Reuters

A 2014 joint report from both the UN and Interpol estimated that about 20,000 to 25,000 elephants are killed in Africa every year, out of a total population of around 650,000. An estimated 1,300 rhinos were killed illegally in Africa last year.