There are so many things I could say about the wonderful work the Kenyan government has done over the last 30 years to stop elephant poaching within their borders. From employing former poachers to establishing a workable prosecuting system to educating citizens, the government has proven their dedication to saving the pachyderm species.
If I was cynical I would say that their proficiency comes only from a desire to preserve species that attract tourists, since tourism is the nation's greatest trade, but after seeing the work they've done, I can tell there's a passion behind it.
Just last week Cabinet Secretary of Environment and National Resources Prof. Judi wakhungu released the results of a national inventory that counted all the elephant and rhino ivory the government has seized by the Kenya Wildlife Service. These numbers showed the dramatic difference their efforts have made in stopping poaching.
Overall, the KWS counted 25, 052 pieces of ivory. Of this, over 1,248 were pieces of rhino horns, more than 2,300 were ivory samples and 800 were rhino samples selected for DNA testing. In all the stockpiles totaled over 137 tons of ivory, as of Aug. 27, 2015.
This may seem like a lot of ivory, and it is, but the numbers are much lower than they could have been. There is no telling how many elephant lives have been saved within this nation alone. Kenya, I salute you and thank you for your great work.
It's not often that you get to meet a local celebrity, but luckily, journalists have a better chance than most.
My sister and I were able to schedule a private interview with Thane Maynard, director of the Cincinnati Zoo. Thane is well-known in the community as a conservation advocate and the producer of The 90 Second Naturalist radio program. I had scheduled an interview so that we could talk about the plight of elephants and what's being done in zoos across the nation to boost elephant populations and support anti-ivory efforts.
Kerry Skiff is a conservation advocate and recent journalism graduate of Northern Kentucky University. She follows the ivory trade around the world, and uses her voice to educate Americans about their role in animal conservation.