Kenya will set fire to 106 tonnes of confiscated ivory and Rhinoceros tusk worth $100 million on Saturday to deliver a message that it is against poaching of elephants and rhinos. However, conservationists have said that the action will instead encourage poaching by making the items more precious, according to BBC.
At least 11 pyres of ivory will be lit by President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi National Park. The fire is expected to rage on for several days. However, it is not known what safety measures have been taken by the authorities.
"The future of the African elephant and rhino is far from secure so long as demand for their products continues to exist," Kenyatta was quoted as saying by Sky News at a conservation summit. "To lose our elephants would be to lose a key part of the heritage that we hold in trust. Quite simply, we will not allow it. We will not be the Africans who stood by as we lost our elephants."
A similar fire was set in Cameroon on April 19 as it lit 2,000 illegally-trafficked elephant tusks and hundreds of finished ivory products, the Guardian reported. Samantha Power, America's U.N. ambassador who was also present at the event, hailed the symbolic gesture by the African nation to fight poaching of elephants.
The move comes in the wake of a summit held in Kenya on Friday on saving the elephant population in Africa. Every year, at least 30,000 elephants are killed by poachers, according to CBC News.
Other African leaders raising concern over dwindling population of elephants in the continent have taken up cudgels against traffickers.
However, critics like the President of Botswana Ian Khama are critical of the action. He will not be attending the biggest ivory burning in history, which will take place in Nairobi on Saturday.