herald

Thursday 19 October 2017

Six tonnes of ivory burned in Ethiopia

Ethiopia burned 6.1 tonnes of ivory tusks and trinkets yesterday, which had been seized from poachers and traders over a 20-year period.

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.

"This is a vital stepping-stone for strengthened activities," he said of the symbolic gesture in a speech, referring to more stringent laws against poaching.

The ash will be used to fertilise 90,000 trees to be planted at the 30-hectare site, and a statue of an elephant will stand among the trees.

Ethiopia has lost 90pc of its elephants in just three decades.

Poaching has surged across sub-Saharan Africa in the past few years, with gangs killing elephants and rhinos to feed ever-increasing Asian demand for ivory and horns.

A 2014 UN and Interpol report estimated that about 20,000 to 25,000 elephants were killed in Africa every year, out of a total population of as many as 650,000.

Neighbouring Kenya burned 15 tonnes of ivory this month.

Ethiopia has about 1,900 elephants in nine designated sites, the African Wildlife Foundation said, citing an Ethiopian government report.

hnews@herald.ie

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