I was interviewed on national television after last weeks ivory burn when local journalists began to ask the question – why was no Kenyan ivory burned on the 22nd of July along with the contraband Zambian and Malawian ivory?
This piece aired on Saturday and it obviously raised some ugly discussions – I had to explain my statements (don’t ask to whom but know it’s someone big?). I stand by my statement that legal ivory trade has triggered illegal ivory trade and killing of elephants leading. The trading status of China and Japan should be revoked, and Kenya should have burned at least 5 tons of ivory along with the Zambian/Malawian stocks.
I asked the KWS Director why not a gram of Kenyan ivory was burned he said that the Kenyan Government recognizes the Kenyan stockpile as an asset and the process of destroying is rather bureaucratic. Mr Kipngetich said he does not see it being destroyed within the next 18 months. What a lost opportunity for us. A massive shame on all of us for failing to use the opportunity to make a much more dramatic statement.
PS. The day after the ivory was burned, KWS pilot Lelesit lost his life after conducting a patrol – his plane crash landed and he died on the spot. I met him in Galana when we rescued a shot elephant Akili a few weeks ago. Lelesit was one of Kenya’s top conservation pilots and his death is a massive loss to conservation. We send our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.