Happening Now: Kenya Prepares For Ivory Bonfire Event


Kenya gets ready to set more than 100 tonnes of ivory on fire ahead of the bonfire event scheduled to take place on Saturday. The bonfire will host a high-profile summit touching on how to save elephants from extinction and aiming to root out illegal wildlife goods. 

Since last week, a small group of men have kept watch of a site in Nairobi National Park. Today, the men were seen unloading tusks from shipping containers – most of of them of mammoth sizes.

The unloaded tusks are piled up into towers of ivory up to 10 feet tall and 20 feet across. Also, seized Colobus monkey skins are added to the pyres, as part of illegally obtained wildlife goods being demonstrated against.


President Uhuru Kenyatta will preside over the event that will see 105 tons of elephant ivory, 1.35 tons of rhino horn, exotic animal skins and other products such as sandalwood and medicinal bark razed down by fire. The ivory to be burnt amounts to the tusks of more than 6,700 elephants.

Wildlife trade experts says the tusks alone -which were gotten from about 8,000 elephants – are estimated to amount to over $105 million on the black market. While the rhino horn, obtained from about 343 animals, are valued at $67 million. Combined, it’s over $172 million worth of illicit wildlife goods.

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The total amount is one and a half time more than what the country expends on her environmental and natural resources agency yearly.

The summit is expected to be a star-studded one with several Hollywood stars and media personalities, including Paul Allen, Yao Ming, and Leonardo Dicarprio said to be among those gracing the major summit in Kenya on the illegal trade in wildlife.

Other dignitaries mentioned to be present at the event include some heads of state along with Hollywood actor Nicole Kidman, and business tycoons George Soros, Paul Allen, Howard Buffet and Michael Bloomberg.