Thursday, 27 February 2014

Chad burns its ivory

February 2014: Chad marked its commitment to combating elephant poaching by burning its ivory stockpile, which weighed more than a tonne.

The ceremony took place at Goz Djarat , the town at the entrance to Zakouma National Park, the country’s flagship national park and was witnessed by a delegation of Chadian cabinet ministers, the African Parks team that manages Zakouma, representatives from other NGOs and the media.

Rampant elephant poaching has destroyed the region’s once thriving elephant population. Fifty years ago Chad was teeming with 50 000 elephants: today the total population is estimated at 1 500.

The match was lit by The President of the Republic of Chad, His Excellency Idriss Déby Itno who was one of five African Heads of State who pledged support for the Elephant Protection Initiative at the UK Government’s London Summit on the Illegal Wildlife Trade. The initiative comprises a range of measures including a commitment to cease trading in ivory products for a minimum of 10 years.

The ivory burn formed part of Zakouma National Park’s 50th anniversary event that also included the unveiling of a commemorative monument to the 23 guards slain on duty at Zakouma since 1998.

In the last couple of months many countries have destroyed their ivory stockpiles or announced their intention to do so including China, France and Hong Kong, and Prince William has called for the ivory in Buckingham Palace to be destroyed.

What do you think? Should countries destroy their ivory? Does it help in the fight against poaching? Let us know your thoughts...

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