Ethiopia Burns Entire 6.1-Ton Ivory Stockpile

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – At a ceremony today in the capital, Ethiopia burned its entire 6.1-ton ivory stockpile. The event was held at the Gulele Botanical Garden, close to the headquarters of the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA), where the ivory had been stored.

Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonen and officials from the Ministries of Culture and Tourism, the Ministry of Environment and Forests, and from Ethiopia’s Environmental Protection Authority attended, along with ambassadors and representatives from international and national environmental organizations.

Ethiopia joins ten other governments that have destroyed all or part of their ivory stockpiles: Kenya (12 tons in 1989, 5 tons in 2011, 15 tons in March 2015); Zambia (9.5 tons in 1992); Gabon (4.8 tons in June 2012), the Philippines (5 tons in June 2013), the United States (6 tons in November 2013), China (6 tons in January 2014), France (3 tons in February 2014), Chad (1.1 tons in February 2014), and Belgium (1.5 tons in April 2014), and Hong Kong (29.6 tons in May 2014).

Ethiopia is both a source and transit country for ivory. In 2014, 106 people were arrested in connection with ivory trafficking, nearly all of them Chinese transit passengers apprehended at Bole International Airport, in Addis Ababa.

The country now has as few as 1,800 elephants, down 90 percent from the 1980s, according to Ethiopia’s National Ivory Action Plan. Fragmented populations are holding on in Babille Elephant Sanctuary (about 250), Gambella (about 340), Omo (about 410), Kafta-Shiraro (about 300), Chebera Chuchura (about 450), and Alatish and Geralle National Parks.

Zeleke Tigabe Abuhay, manager of the African Wildlife Foundation’s (AWF) Simien Mountains landscape program in Ethiopia and former director of the Wildlife Development and Protection Department at EWCA, has followed developments closely.

Since 2012, AWF has worked with EWCA to strengthen management and wildlife protection in and —> Read More