Illustration: Shepard Fairey. Source: InCase

POACHING IS A MAJOR WORLDWIDE PROBLEM, especially when it comes to animals with tusks — rhinos and elephants in Africa face possible extinction thanks to poaching cartels which have been taking ivory out of Africa and into Asia. In the Asian market, ivory is seen as a luxury good, and some types of ivory — such as Rhino horn — are erroneously thought to be folk cures for anything from headaches to hangovers to erectile dysfunction.

Many African governments have had trouble adequately fighting poaching thanks to corruption and a lack of infrastructure, but in recent months, a few governments have taken serious steps to fight poaching. Just last month, Tanzania handed down a harsh sentence for two poachers who killed 226 elephants, which will hopefully act as a deterrent.

Then, this past Saturday, the Kenyan government burned the world’s largest stockpile of ivory coming from illegally poached elephant tusks. The message was clear: we don’t want anyone making money off of this. We want these animals kept alive.

The stockpile of horns was huge, as can be seen from the aerial photography.

The act was witnessed by delegates from 170 world nations, and hashtags like #WorthMoreAlive started trending on Twitter. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered similar ivory burns before, and is trying to fight for a total ban on the ivory trade.

The ivory burn weighed over 100 tonnes, making this the largest ivory burn in history.

If you are looking to help fight poaching, there are a few things you can do. First and foremost, do not contribute to the poaching market. Do not buy ivory or any other products made from the parts of endangered animals. The second thing you can do is to support a few of the charities that are fighting poaching around the world. The best known is undoubtedly the World Wildlife Fund, but you can also donate to the International Anti-Poaching Foundation, and to the Wildlife Conservation Society, which is considered one of the most effective. Finally, Tweet with #WorthMoreAlive to show your support!

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