為了喚起大眾盜獵對非洲象影響的意識，盧薩卡協定工作隊(Lusaka Agreement Task Force)與肯亞政府20日在查沃國家公園(Tsavo National Park)焚毀了重達五噸的查獲非法象牙。
盧薩卡協定特別工作組主任 Bonaventure Ebayi 說，「儘管生態系統對國際與區域經濟有重大貢獻，生態系統仍持續受到跨越國界的環境犯罪所威脅。」
非營利組織生而自由(Born Free USA)執行長 Will Traver 說，「盜獵大象以及沒收象牙的新聞已經成為家常便飯。血腥、腐敗且無情的象牙貿易在70與80年代屠殺了60萬頭非洲象，而現在在非洲又死灰復燃了。」
英國生而自由基金會野生動物貿易專家 Shelley Waterland 從英國飛往肯亞見證這次銷毀象牙的行動。「讓這把火把目光聚焦在這一日益嚴重的危機上，並激勵我們對血腥的象牙貿易採取行動，」Waterland 說，「不再販售庫存的象牙，也不再有象牙賣到每公斤1500美金，不再有巡護員與保育員因為試圖保護大象而被盜獵者殺害，也不再有失去親人的孤兒小象。」
EIA執行董事 Mary Rice 說，「隨著如同在中國消費市場對象牙的貪婪，市場中有多達九成的非法象牙，沒有什麼安全或是無害合法的象牙交易這回事。這只會混淆消費者，刺激新的需求，並且讓黑市象牙更容易漂白。」
※ 盧薩卡協定工作隊(Lusaka Agreement Task Force，簡稱LATF)，為非洲跨國性協議Lusaka Agreement on Cooperative Enforcement Operations Directed 的秘書組織，主要工作在查緝違法動植物買賣。
To raise public awareness of the impact of poaching on Africa's elephants, the Lusaka Agreement Task Force and the Government of Kenya are burning five tonnes of seized ivory in Tsavo National Park on Wednesday.
Lusaka Agreement Task Force and Kenya Wildlife Service officials Tuesday built an elaborate pile of elephant tusks with kerosene jets and a grill to fuel the fire. Today, a flaming torch wielded by President Mwai Kibaki ignited the pile.
Most of the contraband ivory being burned - 335 tusks and 41,553 ivory signature stamps called hankos - was seized in Singapore in June 2002. DNA profiling to determine its probable origins identified the ivory as originating with elephants from Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania. It was exported from Lilongwe, Malawi.
Elephants are listed as Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. International trade in elephants or their parts is prohibited under the UN's Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, CITES.
The treaty regulations allow the destruction of seized ivory since it has no legal commercial value. However, the price of illegal raw ivory is currently estimated to be in excess of $1,500 per kilo.
Kenya is hosting the event as a party to the Lusaka Agreement on Co-operative Enforcement Operations Directed at Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora, a regional inter-governmental agreement on wildlife conservation that has established a Nairobi-based agency for fighting wildlife crime.
The burning of contraband ivory is the first regional exercise of this kind and the third in Africa after Kenya's in 1989 and Zambia's in 1992.
The ivory burning is the climax of the first-ever African Elephant Law Enforcement Day celebrations on the theme of fostering cooperation to combat elephant poaching and ivory trafficking in Africa.
Celebrations include the first African Wildlife Law Enforcement Award and the launch of the African Elephant Law Enforcement Special Account, a fund for the support of law enforcement activities geared towards conserving the elephant.
The African Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring System will be launched as part of the celebrations.
By means of a regional database and applications software, officials will monitor enforcement efforts against trafficking and illegal trade in wildlife. The work of building a database and reporting mechanism at regional and national levels will be carried out jointly by UN agencies, national governments, private industries, civil society and research institutions.
Last week, African diplomats based in Nairobi were asked to help their countries sign on to the Lusaka Agreement, joining the countries already fighting illegal wildlife trade.
"Despite the major contributions of ecosystem services to national and regional economies, the ecosystems continue to experience significant threats of environmental crimes that transcend national boundaries," said Ebayi.
Environmental crimes have been found to be linked other serious and organized crime, such as document fraud, corruption, possession and use of illegal weapons and money laundering.
Will Travers, chief executive of the nonprofit Born Free USA, said, "Reports of elephant poaching and ivory seizures are becoming an almost a daily occurrence. The bloody, corrupt and merciless ivory trade that precipitated the slaughter of 600,000 African elephants during the 1970s and 1980s is sadly booming across Africa again."
Data collated by Born Free reveals that in the last six months more than 10,500 kilos of ivory has been seized by customs and police officials. That is the last mortal remains of more than 1,700 elephants, said Travers.
Seizures have been made in Thailand, Vietnam, Mozambique, China, Kenya and Portugal. One seizure in Guangxi Province, China in April 2011 included 707 elephant tusks, 32 ivory bracelets, and a rhino horn.
Shelley Waterland, wildlife trade specialist with the UK-based Born Free Foundation, flew from England to Kenya to witness the ivory burn. "Let the fire shine a spotlight on this growing crisis and motivate us to take action against the bloody ivory trade," Waterland declared. "No more sales of stockpiled ivory; no more tusks sold for a staggering $1,500 a kilo; no more rangers and wardens killed by poachers trying to protect wild elephants; no more ivory orphans."
"Having consulted with many range states, my message from Kenya is clear," said Waterland. "The ivory ban must be reinstated in full and we must increase our wildlife law-enforcement effort."
An international ivory trade ban was agreed by the Parties to CITES in October 1989. However, since then two "one-off" sales of stockpiled ivory from Southern Africa have taken place. The first sale to Japan in 1999 save over 50 tonnes sold for about $60 per kilo. More recently in 2008, China and Japan were authorized to buy over 100 tonnes, which sold for about $150 per kilo.
Despite warnings from conservationists, the CITES Standing Committee approved China as an ivory trading nation in 2008. China is where demand for ivory is greatest, driven by an increasingly wealthy middle class.
"As more than a million Chinese nationals expand their footprint across the African Continent, building roads, mining, and carrying out timber extraction, they are widely implicated in ivory profiteering," claims Born Free. The Kenya Wildlife Service regularly reports the involvement of Chinese nationals in ivory seizures.
The London-based nonprofit Environmental Investigation Agency called for all other illegal stockpiles to be burned.
EIA executive director Mary Rice said, "With avaricious consumer markets for ivory such as that in China, where up to 90 percent of the ivory on the market place is of illegal origin, there is no such thing as a safe or harmless legal trade in ivory. This serves only to confuse consumers, stimulate fresh demand and allow the easy laundering of black market ivory."