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January 17, 2019

Kenya issues 21-day ivory, rhino horn amnesty ahead of massive April burn

President Uhuru Kenyatta leads the burning of a pile of Ivory during the Commemoration of Africa Environment and Wangari Maathai Day and Wildlife day at Kenya Wildlife Service headquarters in Nairobi, March 3, 2015. Photo/REUTERS
President Uhuru Kenyatta leads the burning of a pile of Ivory during the Commemoration of Africa Environment and Wangari Maathai Day and Wildlife day at Kenya Wildlife Service headquarters in Nairobi, March 3, 2015. Photo/REUTERS

The government has issued a three-week amnesty for handing in all wildlife trophies, ivory and rhino horn ahead of the biggest burn in April

Anybody with items including jewellery made from ivory should be surrendered to the nearest Kenya Wildlife Service office, said Environment CS Judi Wakhungu.

She said during the launch of the burn at Nairobi National Park on Wednesday that those who adhere to the directive will not be prosecuted.

Wakhungu said the government remains committed to ensuring elephants and rhinos are accorded the highest level of protection.

"Although the burn will not put an end to illegal trade in these items, it sends a strong message and demonstrates our commitment to seeking a total global ban," she said.

Wakhungu said 10 head of states are expected to witness the torching at the park on April 30.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, patron of the Giants Club summit comprising Uganda, Gabon and Kenya, will preside over the destruction of 120 tonnes of ivory collected so far.

"This will be the largest number pile to be destroyed globally. We have made significant strides in fighting elephant and rhino poaching," said Wakhungu.

She reiterated that more than 4,300 arrests related to poaching have been made in the last three years.

The CS said 96 elephants were poached in 2015 compared to 164 in 2014, a "clear indication" that cases of ivory trade have reduced.

She said 35 rhinos were killed in 2014 compared to 11 in 2015.

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