Giants Club Summit 2016: African Leaders Gather to Save Elephants from Extinction
The Giants Club is holding its inaugural summit in Laikipia, Kenya, from April 29 to April 30, to discuss how to save Africa’s elephants from extinction.
The exclusive forum brings together African Heads of State, global business leaders and elephant protection experts to secure Africa’s remaining elephant populations and the landscapes they depend on.
The summit will be led by the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
As well as heads of state, the conservation group will bring together business leaders and scientists.
The Giants Club was founded by President Uhuru Kenyatta with the presidents of Botswana, Gabon, Kenya and Uganda, with support from Space for Giants and its patron, Evgeny Lebedev, the owner of The Independent and London Evening Standard newspapers. The body was formed to combat the poaching crisis by bringing together visionary leaders who can work together to provide the political will, financial resources and technical capacity required to protect Africa’s remaining elephant populations.
The summit is to be staged at Mount Kenya Safari Club. Delegates will also be invited to visit local conservation projects to see practical examples of Kenya’s leadership in the area of wildlife protection. Attendance is by invitation only.
According to experts, Africa’s elephant population has fallen by 90% over the past century. They warn that the animal could be extinct within decades.
After the summit, Kenya will set fire to nearly its entire confiscated stock of ivory, 105 tonnes, equivalent to the tusks of more than 6,700 elephants.
The ivory has been piled into a dozen giant pyres, which will be lit by dignitaries at the summit.
The mass burning on April 30 will be seven times the size of any stockpile destruction so far, and represents about 5% of global ivory stores.
Some 1.35 tonnes of rhino horn will also be burned.
The street value of the ivory destroyed is estimated at more than $100 million, and the rhino horn at $80 million.
Kitili Mbathi, director general of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), said: “We don’t believe there is any intrinsic value in ivory, and therefore we’re going to burn all our stockpiles and demonstrate to the world that ivory is only valuable on elephants.”
Africa is home to between 450,000 to 500,000 elephants, but more than 30,000 are killed every year for their tusks.