By Joey Turner
Kenya will next week burn nearly five tonnes of ivory poached in eastern and southern Africa and stockpiled for nearly a decade, an official announced Thursday.
The 4.967 tonnes (10,950 pounds) of elephant tusks were seized in Singapore in 2002, and stored since then at a wildlife rangers training centre in eastern Kenya.
The tusks originated in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia.
Bonaventure Ebayi, the director of the Lusaka Agreement Task Force, said the burning of the ivory follows an agreement reached by the three countries in May in Nairobi.
The task force is charged with implementing the 1992 Lusaka Agreement designed to help African law enforcement agencies tackle wildlife smuggling.
Wednesday’s burning will be the second in Kenya, which in 1989 torched 12 tonnes of ivory. Zambia also burnt smuggled tusks in 1992.
Ebayi said the measure was no different from the destruction of any other contraband.
Africa is home to 472,269 elephants whose survival is threatened by poaching and illegal trade in game trophy.