By Leya Musa
While the government of Tanzania sits on a stockpile of 112 tonnes of seized tusks the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators is set to lead the burning of ivory ornaments and trinkets that has been seized. The burning is set to take place in June and the 500 businesses that are members of the associations are collecting the ivory.
While Tanzania has not yet decided what to do with the seized tusks President Kikwete stated during the London wildlife conference that destruction of the stock was being considered. The tour operators of the country are not prepared to sit back and wait on a decision and are organising their own burning.
The plan is for the burning to take place in June at the 2014 Karibu Travel and Tourism Fair taking place at Kisonga.
“This comes from special requests by Tanzanian nationals, foreign visitors and a number of international organisations who have volunteered to collect all ivory and rhino horn related artefacts and curious available countrywide so that we can set them ablaze in June,” said TATO executive officer Sirili Miontini Akko.
Other curios made from wildlife products will also be included in the bonfire.
If everything goes to plan it is hoped that Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism Mr Lazaro Nyalandu will attend and start the bonfire. Senior officials from Tanzania’s wildlife and tourism departments are also planned to be present.
The ivory is set to be collected from people who value living elephants over dead ivory ornaments. Some will also include ivory seized from tourists and poachers.