In Cape Town, conservationists, sports stars and celebrities gathered in Blaauwberg Nature Reserve yesterday to celebrate World Elephant Day by igniting a fire of mock ivory against the backdrop of Table Mountain to raise awareness of the ongoing slaughter of African Elephants. They may face extinction in the wild with at least 20,000 elephants killed for their tusks last year, although many conservationists believe the death toll to be far higher.
“The insatiable demand for ivory as a status symbol and investment commodity now threatens the very survival of elephants in many countries, with governments including our own continuing to accumulate stockpiles of ivory, perpetuating the concept that there is a commercial value for ivory and elephants continue to pay the price,” says Francis Garrard of the Conservation Action Trust.
“The Cape Town Burn pays homage to the tens of thousands of elephants who have died needlessly to satisfy greed and fashion. It also commemorates the Kenyan ivory burn of 1989 when the Kenyan government incinerated 12 tons of seized elephant tusks in an effort to persuade the world to ban the international trade in ivory, ” says Francis Garrard of the Conservation Action Trust.
Mock Ivory Burn, Cape Town. Photo Montage
Standing by, roll camera…ACTION. Photo Marius van Straaten.
Michaela Strachan, wildlife TV presenter. Photo: Mike Kendrick
Ntokozo Mbuli, 50|50 television presenter. Photo Mike Kendrick.
Joe Pietersen, South African rugby player. Photo Mike Kendrick.
Dr Ian McCallum, psychiatrist, conservationist, poet and guest speaker. Photo Mike Kendrick.
Cape Town, South Africa. Say No To Ivory.
Lighting the mock ivory pyre.
“Sometimes we start fires in order to put out fires.” Ian McCallum
Purging ivory to the flames.
Jade Hubner, Miss SA finalist throws Ivory into fire.
Mock Ivory Burn, Cape Town, South Africa. Photo: (AP/ Schalk van Zuydam)
Capetonians love the outdoors and love wildlife. #No2Trade.
No Elephants when I grow up? Photo Mike Kendrick.
Siyabonga “Scarra” Ntubeni, Stormers rugby player. Photo: Marius van Straaten