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US Authorities Crush Ivory to Send Anti-Poaching Message

Authorities Crush Ivory to Send Anti-Poaching Messagei
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November 15, 2013 7:00 AM
U.S. officials sent a powerful anti-poaching message by destroying nearly 6,000 kilograms of confiscated ivory tusks, carvings and jewelry.
Authorities Crush Ivory to Send Anti-Poaching Message
VOA News
Africa's elephants are being slaughtered at a record pace by poachers who hope to get rich by selling their ivory tusks.
 
On Thursday, U.S. officials sent a powerful anti-poaching message by destroying nearly 6,000 kilograms of confiscated ivory tusks, carvings and jewelry.
 
Conservationists say the key to ending the poaching of elephants is to make it unprofitable to do so.
 
"Anytime we can remove ivory from the marketplace it’s a win for elephants, because it suggests to the world that there isn't profitability to be had by selling ivory. And if there's no profitability in selling ivory, there's no profitability in poaching elephants,” explained Adam Robers, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA. 
 
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officers carry confiscated ivory to a crusher to be pulverized, at the National Wildlife Property Repository, at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, in Commerce City, Colo., Nov. 14, 2013.
  • A front end loader dumps ivory into a giant rock crusher to be pulverized, at the National Wildlife Property Repository, at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, in Commerce City, Colo., Nov. 14, 2013.
  • A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee keeps watch as pulverized confiscated ivory emerges from a rock crusher after being destroyed during an event at the National Wildlife Property Repository, Commerce City, Colo., Nov. 14, 2013.
  • Members of the media cover a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service event in which confiscated elephant ivory was destroyed at the National Wildlife Property Repository, Commerce City, Colo., Nov. 14, 2013.
  • Confiscated decorative ivory is piled together in preparation to be destroyed during an event at the National Wildlife Property Repository, at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, in Commerce City, Colo., Nov. 14, 2013.

Before they were crushed, the confiscated ivory tusks, statues and ornaments were showed off by Fish and Wildlife officials, who said represented the killing of more than 2,000 adult elephants.
 
The items were seized from smugglers, traders and tourists after a global ban on the ivory trade took effect in 1989.
 
"Much of it is in what we might all trinkets, small carvings that are generally produced in Asia, brought back as souvenirs by tourists. That is a big part of the market here,” said Ginette Hemley, Senior Vice President of the World Wildlife Fund.
 
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced a $1 million reward on Wednesday for information leading to the dismantling of a Laos-based criminal syndicate, the Xaysavang Network, that Kerry said poaches elephants for ivory.

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