Wildlife officials meet to discuss ways of keeping ivory safe

Kenya Wildlife Service personnel pile up Ivory part of 105 tonnes at the Nairobi National park Ivory burning site in preparations for the torching scheduled for April 30, 2016. Photo/Jack Owuor
Kenya Wildlife Service personnel pile up Ivory part of 105 tonnes at the Nairobi National park Ivory burning site in preparations for the torching scheduled for April 30, 2016. Photo/Jack Owuor

Senior wildlife officials from six African countries will meet in Nairobi to find ways of securing national ivory stockpiles.

The workshop set for Tuesday and Wednesday and organised by the Elephant Protection Initiative will be attended by officials from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Malawi and Botswana.

“If we want to ensure there is no illegal trade in ivory, we need to help countries manage their stockpiles, with accurate inventories, management and secure storage. We are aiming for a gold standard methodology,” Winnie Kiiru, EPI senior technical adviser said.

Countries have three weeks to declare rhino horns and elephant tusks.

This is a requirement for parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), of which Kenya is one.

Governments of the African elephant range states accrue stockpiles of ivory (and other wildlife products) through seizures from poachers or traffickers, natural deaths and legal culling.

The meeting will look at a digital tool for data storage, the Stockpile Management System.

The system is designed to eliminate human error and opportunities for corruption, by enabling officials to capture photos and data of ivory on a tablet, which can then be uploaded onto a secure central server.

Kiiru said the system will bring transparency and good governance to the management of ivory stockpiles.

“The fight to save the elephant is being conducted on many fronts, and the accurate recording of data is one of them,” she said.

The workshop will be at Boma Inn. Senior Assistant Director in charge of parks and reserves at Kenya Wildlife Services Edin Kalla will preside over the event.