Lonely Planet Writer

Social media campaign stresses that elephants and rhinos are #WorthMoreAlive ahead of ivory burn in Kenya

A social media campaign, #WorthMoreAlive, is stressing the value of elephants and rhinos along with anti-poaching messages in the lead up to a large ivory burn in Kenya this week.

The government of Kenya and the Kenya Wildlife Service will burn 105 tonnes of ivory and 1.35 tonnes of rhino horn inside Nairobi National Park on 30 April. According to Stop Ivory, that is the ivory from more than 6500 elephants and will be the largest destruction of tusks in history.

The burning will be done in front of media, heads of state, celebrities, conservationists and more, in order to deter illegal trade and send a message that elephant ivory and rhino horns have no worth and can only be valuable on a living animal.

Alexander Rhodes, the CEO of Stop Ivory, said in a statement that ivory is worthless: “Its trade is banned internationally and the last two major consumer markets (the US and China) are closing their domestic markets.  The valuable thing is the elephants. On every metric – culturally, ecologically and economically – and in all cultures living elephants are valued over their dead teeth.  This is reflected in the extraordinary common action to address a shared problem by putting ivory beyond economic use and closing markets”.

He noted that Malaysia recently crushed 9.5 tonnes of ivory, and Cameroon recently burnt a stockpile of ivory. An estimated 30,000 to 35,000 elephants are slaughtered in Africa each year, according to the organization.

The campaign is also being shared on social media, with many people posting on Twitter and Instagram that elephants and rhinos are #WorthMoreAlive. Safari tourism is a huge industry in Kenya and officials are stressing that animals need to be protected in order to keep that valuable industry going.