Friday, March 20, 2015

Ethiopia destroys six-tonne stockpile of poached ivory

(Mar 20, 2015, (BBC))--Ethiopia has destroyed its entire stockpile of illegally poached ivory in an effort to curb poaching.  The six tonnes of tusks, carvings and jewellery were burned in the capital Addis Ababa. It is the second African country - after Kenya - to burn its ivory stockpile to discourage the black market trading.

A pile of 6.1 tons of illegal elephant tusks, ivory trinkets, carvings and various forms of jewelry is burned on a wooden pyre that government officials set alight to discourage poaching and the ivory trade, in the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Friday, March 20, 2015. (AP /Mulugeta Ayene)
Ethiopia has lost more than 90% of its elephants since the 1980s. Conservationists welcomed the move. Police and park officers poured petrol on the stockpile at a ceremony on a hill in the middle of the capital's Gulele Botanic Garden. It was lit by Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen.

Mr Mekonnen described the symbolic gesture as "a vital stepping stone" in the implementation of more stringent laws against poaching. The authorities say that in the last five years, they have arrested more than 700 suspected poachers and traffickers.

Conservationists say, poaching has surged across sub-Saharan Africa in the past few years, with gangs killing elephants and rhinos for their tusks and horns to feed the ever-increasing demand from Asia. Read more from BBC »

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