On June 5, 2017, on a bluff overlooking its iconic Quicama National Park, Angola’s Minister of Environment Her Excellency Maria de Fatima Jardim directed the Director of Biodiversity to set fire to the country’s main ivory stockpile.
Her Excellency said, “Today on World Environment Day we have decided to burn this ivory demonstrate our commitment against the illegal ivory trade, transnational crime is not acceptable.” The President has signed the EPI and we are committed as a whole government to do everything we can, including with the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Interior to stop the illegal wildlife trade.” The wildlife in Angola can constitute part of development and an economic driver.”
As the one and a quarter tonne pile leapt into flame, the Minister reiterated the southern African country’s commitment stamp out all ivory trade.
In 2016 Angola hosted the World Environment Day celebrations and marked its joining of the Elephant Protection Initiative.
Before assembled dignitaries including Ambassadors and the UN’s head of mission to Angola, the Minister explained that burning Ivory not only put it beyond any economic use, but also marked the significant conservation steps the country has made over the last year.
In 2016, with support from EPI co-secretariat Stop Ivory, the country started the inventory of its national ivory stocks – both from its parks and seized from traffickers at Luanda international airport. Over the coming months it is rolling out a digital stockpile management system to prevent illegal thefts.
In 2016 Angola closed its domestic Ivory market, which had. Even one of the largest in Africa. This year, the main ivory market at Benfica no longer exists.
The burn comes after three days of activities to mark World Environment Day.
On Saturday, the Minister and dignitaries visited the first specialist ranger training held at government ranger school Menongue which is being delivered by Kenyan specialists 51 Degrees though Stop Ivory. At Menongue, the Minister also formally opened the Angola chapter of the Game Rangers Association of Africa, laying the ground for strengthening the country’s national parks.
On Sunday evening National Geographic held a screening of its latest film, charting the incredible biodiversity recorded during its epic expeditions into the headwaters of the Okavango water system. The film highlights the incredible richness of Angola and its importance as the water tower for all countries in the region.
“Our elephants are the champions for our biodiversity” says Director of biodiversity Abias Huongo matter of factly as the smoke curls into the sky. “the elephants mean everything.”
“Stop Ivory is honoured to continue to support the government in its fight against this transnational crime and in its work to protect its elephants” said David Stulb, President of Stop Ivory US.
Angola continues to develop and implement its National Elephant Action Plan.