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US Government Destroys One Ton of Confiscated Ivory to Protest Illegal Ivory Trade

posted: 06/19/15
by: Danny Clemens
Ivory crush event
Kelsey Williams/FWS

In a public display against the international ivory trade, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service destroyed more than one ton of confiscated ivory in Times Square on Friday morning. Government officials, celebrities and thousands of onlookers watched as dozens of ivory artifacts were loaded into an industrial rock crusher and destroyed.

"Today's ivory crush serves as a stark reminder to the rest of the world that the United States will not tolerate wildlife crimes, especially against iconic and endangered animals," remarked U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. "The message is loud and clear: This Administration will stop the poachers in their tracks, stop the profits and work with our international partners to protect our global natural heritage."

Internationally, the ivory trade targets African and Asian elephants and walruses. A worldwide ban on ivory trading was enacted in 1989, but the black market for ivory continues to thrive: according to a recent report, almost 35,000 elephants are killed annually for their ivory. Conservation organization Bloody Ivory estimates that black market demand for ivory is at its highest level in 25 years.

"We all lose if elephants, rhinos, tigers and other iconic animals disappear. The only way we will save them is together through a concerted global effort to end the scourge of wildlife trafficking and the devastation it brings to these animals," added Dan Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The first Ivory Crush event took place in November 2013, when the government destroyed six tons of ivory. The move prompted nine other international governments to hold similar events.

Learn more about elephant conservation:

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Elephant Orphanage
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