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Kenya Burns Tons of Tusks Amid Warning Ivory War Not Winnable

  • As many as 33,000 elephants killed illegally every year
  • Burning 5 percent of world ivory stock may stoke prices
A KWS security officer stands near a burning pile of 15 tonnes of elephant ivory seized in Kenya at Nairobi National Park on March 3, 2015.

A KWS security officer stands near a burning pile of 15 tonnes of elephant ivory seized in Kenya at Nairobi National Park on March 3, 2015.

Photographer: Carl de Souza/AFP via Getty Images

Kenya will burn an estimated 5 percent of the world’s ivory on April 30 in a fiery protest against the global trade in elephant tusks, while trimming back a stockpile accumulated over past decades to only 32 tons, the head of the nation’s wildlife authority said.

The African elephant, the world’s largest land mammal, faces extinction as poaching fueled by demand for illicit ivory surges in Asian markets. There are only 470,000 of the jumbos left in the wild in 37 countries on the continent, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature.