Date Published:

Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - 20:15

Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, Prof. Judi wakhungu remarks during the release of the results of  national elephant ivory and rhino horn stockpiles inventory at the Kenya wildlife service headquarters, Nairobi, on September 16, 2015. It is my honour to be here with you today to preside over release of the results of the national elephant ivory and rhino horn stockpiles inventory exercise which I commissioned on July 21, 2015. As mentioned during the launch, Section 83 part 3 of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013 requires that the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) undertakes an audit every year, of the Government trophy stockpile held in the country and publish the results of the audit in the National Gazette. Besides, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), a  Convention, to which Kenya is a State Party, requires  State Parties to take certain steps to properly manage elephant ivory and rhino horn stockpiles within their jurisdiction. Specifically, Resolution Number 10.10 of the CITES Convention as revised at the 16th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention  requires State Parties to, and I quote, “maintain an inventory of government-held stockpiles of ivory and, where possible, of significant privately held stockpiles of ivory within their territory, and inform the Secretariat of the level of this stock each year before 28 February of each year, indicating: the number of pieces and their weight per type of Ivory (raw or worked); for relevant pieces, and if marked, their markings in accordance with the provisions of this Resolution; the source of the ivory; and the reasons for any significant changes in the stockpile compared to the preceding year”. Ladies and gentlemen, In compliance with the provisions of the Wildlife Act, 2013 and CITES Convention, therefore, the Government of Kenya conducted the first comprehensive and transparent National Inventory on all elephant ivory and rhino horns held in the country. Kenya Wildlife Service partnered with Stop Ivory, a UK-based not-for profit organization alongside, Save the Elephants; and Ernest & Young Audit Firm to support the inventory exercise by offering technical and financial contribution. Relevant government agencies such as Office of Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP), Judiciary, Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Ports Authority, Directorate of Criminal Investigation, Kenya National Audit office, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, National Police Service; Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Inter Governmental Organizations such as Lusaka Agreement Task Force and CITES Secretariat and the public were invited to be part of this national exercise. Ladies and gentlemen, I am happy to report that the inventory exercise was successfully completed in 45 days beginning on 13 July and ended on 27 August 2015. All ivory in custody of KWS (both normal stocks and court exhibits) and those seized and kept under Police custody specifically in Mombasa Port were inventoried. Samples were taken from representative elephant ivory stocks and all rhino horns for DNA profiling and analysis to create a DNA reference library which will be a central component in analysis of forensic evidence for use in prosecution of wildlife crime and profiling genetic structure of our populations. The data acquired in the inventory process is stored on a secure server hosted and maintained by Kenya Wildlife Service and with restricted access.  Further,  the elephant  Ivory and Rhino Horn samples collected in the process have been stored in a secure sample bank for DNA profiling and  analysis at the newly established KWS Forensic and Genetics Laboratory. I am happy to report that this is the first time the trophy stockpiles were digitally inventoried using a tablet-based Inventory Technology and shall form the basis for future national audits.

Ladies and gentlemen, I acknowledge the financial and technical support provided by Stop Ivory and its partners among them Save the Elephants & Earnest & Young Consultants.  I also acknowledge the contribution of resources and facilitation of the exercise by Kenya Wildlife Service Board of Trustees to deliver the expected results. I express my gratitude to Government agencies, non-governmental organizations and Inter-Governmental organizations who participated in the exercise to ensure credibility of the process.  Ladies and gentlemen, The inventory exercise has confirmed that the systems put in place by Kenya Wildlife Service for the management and storage of the trophies are robust and with minimal adjustments, will meet the highest required international standards for management of such high-value wildlife products. A key adjustment to be made to the system is installation of a Trophy Stockpile Management Software that will ensure all trophies will be accounted for at any given time from any store across the country particularly trophies from animal killed in National Reserves, Private Sanctuaries and Community Conservancies to be recorded real time. Based on the recommendations of the inventory exercise, my ministry will put in place such robust systems to enhance security and management of Kenya’s trophy stockpile. Now ladies and gentlemen, before I officially announce the results of the 2015 National elephant ivory and rhino horn stockpile inventory, I would like to commend the inventory teams led by Winnie Kiiru and Patrick Omondi from Stop ivory and Kenya Wildlife Service respectively for a job well executed.

These teams were able to complete the inventory exercise within the planned period of 45 days moving and working in twenty (20) inventory sites across the country. I would like to specially commend the KWS team for working so dedicatedly but under a very tight budget to deliver jointly with the Stop Ivory team these results.   Ladies and gentlemen, these teams were able to count 25,052 pieces of ivory majority of them raw ivory and a few worked ivory, over 1,248 pieces of Rhino horns and collection of over 2,300 Ivory samples and 800 Rhino samples for DNA analysis and profiling. Having given you these figures in terms of pieces let me now confirm what they translate to in terms of weight. The total weight of the ivory stockpile held in the country as of 27th August 2015 is  137,679Kg (137.679 Tonnes) and 1,519kg (1.519tonnes) for the Rhino horns. These are the figures that soon I will be publishing in a Gazette Notice in accordance with the requirements of the Wildlife Act, 2013 as the total national stockpiles of elephant ivory and rhino horns we have as at 27 August 2015 the date the inventory concluded. Finally ladies and gentlemen I want to appeal for further financial and technical support to the KWS Forensic and Genetic laboratory to help in the DNA analysis & profiling of the large samples of rhino horn and ivory samples collected during this exercise.