A KWS officer sets illegal stockpiles of elephant tusks in the Nairobi National Park on fire on April 30 last year /JACK OWUOR
Kenya is among countries racing against time to declare the inventory of elephant ivory and rhino horn in their possession.
This follows the deadline set by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora. The CITES secretariat in two notices dated January 23 wants parties to report their stocks by February 28.
“The purpose of the present notification is to remind parties that resolution on trade in elephant specimens contains, among other provisions, a recommendation to mark elephant ivory tusks and cut pieces, a deadline of 28 February each year for the submission of an inventory of government-held ivory stock and privately held ivory stocks and the reasons for any significant changes in the stockpile, compared to the preceding year,” one notice to the parties reads.
CITES has an agreement with governments to ensure international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
On September 16, 2015, Environment CS Judi Wakhungu announced Kenya held 137.679 tonnes of ivory and 1.519 tonnes of rhino horn as of August 27 of that year.
The results were released after a national elephant ivory and rhino horn stockpiles inventory exercise commissioned on July 21,2015 concluded.
In April 30 last year, 105 tons of elephant ivory and one ton of rhino horn were set ablaze. The stockpile was 10 times larger than the previous biggest burn. This was aimed at signalling to the world that ivory belongs on elephants, not in the hands of poachers.
The trophies came from more than 8,000 elephants and 343 rhinos, according to the Kenya Wildlife Service.
KWS deputy director for Species Conservation and Management Patrick Omondi yesterday said they are compiling the stocks to beat the dead-line.
The request to submit an inventory is directed to parties in whose jurisdiction there is an ivory carving industry, a legal domestic trade in ivory, an unregulated market for or illegal trade in ivory, where ivory stockpiles exist, or are designated as ivory importing countries.