A glimpse of where the stocks were burned

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Assam will mark World Rhino Day – September 22 – with a special ceremony by burning a stockpile of nearly 2,500 one-horned rhino horns.

According to forestry officials, 2,479 rhino horns will be destroyed in addition to elephant tusks and body parts of other wildlife.

Assam has the largest population of one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) in the world, around 2,600, and is found in Manas and Orang National Parks, in addition to Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, outside of Pobitora National Park. Kaziranga.

On September 16, the Assam cabinet decided that in order to dispel myths about the usefulness of horns and prevent poaching, the 2,479 pieces stored in state treasuries would be burned in public view.

Talk to Indian express, Bibhab Talukdar, Chairman of the Asian Rhinoceros Specialist Group in the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Asian Rhino Specialist Group and CEO and Secretary General of the NGO Aaranyak, said as India, signatory to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna). “Either way, it’s illegal to sell horns in the country. So instead of the horns breaking down in treasures, the decision to burn them will send a clear message: this is not medicine, ”he said.

However, this is not the first time that a country has decided to burn stocks of rhino horn or ivory.

Take a look at other such incidents around the world.

Kenya – 2016

Kenya, which introduced the world to ivory burning in 1989, torched the tusks of nearly 7,000 elephants – worth 105 metric tons – at 11 separate pyres in Nairobi National Park in April 2016.

The decision was taken to make a declaration against the trade in ivory and endangered species products.

File photo of Kenyan Wildlife Services rangers standing guard around pyres of elephant tusks, ivory figurines and rhino horns. AFP

According to the report, more than $ 300 million in contraband caught fire.

At the time, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said: “Kenya is making a statement that to us ivory is of no value unless it is on our elephants. This will send an absolutely clear message that the ivory trade must stop and our elephants must be protected. I hope the world will join us in ending the horrific suffering of our herds and saving our elephants for future generations. “

The ceremony was designed to highlight the decline of Africa’s wild elephant population and the impact of poaching.

Philippines – 2013

In June 2013, the Philippines became the first Asian country in the world to destroy its national stockpile of confiscated ivory.

It was also the first time that an ivory consuming country got rid of the stock, sending a very clear message to other Asian and African countries: stop the ivory trade and do not add value to existing stocks.

Philippine government workers crushed and burned more than five tonnes of smuggled elephant tusks worth an estimated $ 10 million.

The Manila government had said the destruction of the stock, collected from seizures since 2009, demonstrated its commitment to tackling the illegal ivory trade.

China – 2014

China destroyed 6.1 tons of confiscated tusks and sculptures on January 6, 2014, a move hailed by environmentalists.

China’s destruction of ivory was seen as a symbol of the government’s growing responsiveness to the ivory crisis.

China is the world’s largest ivory market, accounting for 70 percent of global demand in 2014.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare was “delighted” with China’s decision, while former Chinese basketball player and wildlife activist Yao Ming called it “an important step in raising awareness of the public “, and that he hoped that” would lead to similar events all over China. ” . “

Czech Republic – 2014 and 2016

In October 2014, the Czech Republic burned 60 kilograms of rhino horns, the first public burning of rhino horns in Europe.

The Czech Republic has burned the horns, which came from a government stock as well as former rhinos held at the zoo, in an effort to help conserve the rhinos, which have been wiped out by the worsening poaching crisis.

In fact, the Czech Republic is often used as a transit point for rhino horn smugglers.

In 2016, authorities again burned more than 33 kg of rhino horn at Dvůr Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic.

Speaking at the event, Richard Leakey, world-renowned environmentalist, said: “A lot of people cannot understand why destroying is the best thing to do with rhino horns. When we burnt ivory in Kenya in the late 1980s, its price dropped rapidly in about six months as demand was drastically reduced. Apparently people have already started to realize that the cost of purchasing ivory items is the lowest. animal life. “

Sri Lanka – 2016

The Sri Lankan government destroyed its largest shipment of illegal ivory in January 2016 in what customs officials said was an attempt to show poachers that the island will not tolerate violent trade.

More than 350 tusks were displayed on Galle Face promenade in Colombo, the island’s capital, before being put into a 100-ton crusher to be sent to an industrial furnace.

“We are trying to demonstrate that there is no value for blood ivory … It is horribly cruel and the elephants suffer for about a week before they die,” said the Colombo customs director, Udayantha Liyanage, cited by The Guardian.

It was the first time that a South Asian country destroyed its stockpile of illegal ivory.

With contributions from agencies


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