A Kenyan armed ranger stands guard at the site of burning contraband ivory in Nairobi March 3, 2015. (Xinhua/Pan Siwei)
A Kenyan armed ranger stands guard at the site of burning contraband ivory in Nairobi March 3, 2015. (Xinhua/Pan Siwei)

By Cyprian Ndau

The Malawi government on Thursday made a last-minute decision not to burn a stockpile of confiscated ivory weighing over 4 tons on legal grounds.

A Kenyan armed ranger stands guard at the site of burning contraband ivory in Nairobi March 3, 2015. (Xinhua/Pan Siwei)
A Kenyan armed ranger stands guard at the site of burning contraband ivory in Nairobi March 3, 2015. (Xinhua/Pan Siwei)

The Malawi government announced lately that as a way of commemorating World Wildlife Day, President Peter Mutharika would set the ivory on fire at Parliament Building in the capital to demonstrate the country’s stance on the fight against poaching of wild animals including elephants.
The announcement received global support from the media and wildlife activists. However, a statement released on Thursday by Information Minister and government spokesperson Kondwani Nankhumwa said the stockpile would be burnt at a later day after court cases surrounding the ivory were over.
‘[Malawi] Government regrets to advise that there is a slight change in the program of the event as a consequence of new information that has emerged,” said Nankhumwa.
“The commemorations will proceed as planned but the burning of the ivory has been postponed because Government has been advised that another 2.6 tons of ivory is still in the system as exhibits awaiting conclusion of cases which are pending in the courts.”
Nankhumwa said once the cases were concluded, all the 6.6 tons of the ivory would be destroyed together at a time and date to be announced in the future.
He said while the Malawi government remained committed to fighting wildlife crime, including protecting iconic species of elephants and rhinos, which are key for tourism promotion in Malawi, it was important that the entire stockpile of ivory is destroyed once and for all.
Malawi would have become the 11th country to destroy ivory stockpiles in the last 21 months and the second country to do so in the southern Africa after Zambia in 1992.
Most of the Malawi’s ivory stockpile was confiscated from ivory dealers who used the country as a conduit to convey ivory from neighboring Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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