Kenya holds summit to stop elephant slaughter

2016 04 28T121614Z 01 GGGAFR102 RTRIDSP 3 KENYA IVORY 28 04 2016 14 04 36 388

From anti-poaching commandos deployed by helicopter to boosting court prosecutions: Kenya on Friday hosted a summit on how to end ivory trafficking and prevent the extinction of elephants in the wild.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is heading the meeting which groups African heads of state and conservationists in the central town of Nanyuki to boost awareness of the threat of poaching.

On Saturday, the country sets fire to nearly its entire ivory stockpile.

The bonfire will be the largest-ever torching of ivory, involving 105 tonnes from thousands of dead elephants, dwarfing by seven times any stockpile burned before.

Africa is home to between 450,000 to 500,000 elephants, but more than 30,000 are killed every year on the continent to satisfy demand for ivory in Asia, where raw tusks sell for around $1,000 (800 euros) a kilo (2.2 pounds).

The summit aims to raise global awareness and eventually achieve a total ban on ivory trade, while highlighting the multiple methods used in the fight against poachers, from the frontline, where rangers are out on patrol, to the court room.

The Last Dance for Mountain Chicken Frogs

Conservationists will try to bring Montserrat’s two remaining mountain chicken frogs together in the hope they will breed and save the species from local extinction. The male and female are the only known survivors of chytrid fungus disease, which has ravaged amphibian populations worldwide. They currently live about 1,500 feet apart along one of the island’s rain forest streams. Artificial nests will be built to entice the female.

Locust Warnings

The embattled Middle Eastern country of Yemen is bracing for what officials fear will be a large locust plague, which they are afraid to combat with pesticides out of fear of killing the bees that are vital to the country’s agriculture. Ongoing civil conflict, amplified by foreign intervention by the United States, Iran and Saudi Arabia, is also hampering locust control and monitoring. Teams say this resulted in them being unable to kill the locusts before the insects matured enough to swarm.

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