News / Asia

Philippines Destroys Five Tons of Ivory

A steamroller is used to crush seized elephant tusks during a ceremony at the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines, June 21, 2013.
A steamroller is used to crush seized elephant tusks during a ceremony at the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines, June 21, 2013.
Simone Orendain
— The Philippine government Friday began destroying more than five tons of confiscated elephant tusks.  The Philippines is one of the main stopovers on the illicit ivory trade route from Africa to China. 

The tusks were part of a stockpile that was collected over a 17-year period through 2009.  But this is only about half of what was originally confiscated.  Officials said the search and investigation continues for the nearly eight tons of missing ivory.  

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje hopes that destroying the tusks in a very public way will be a deterrent to smugglers. “This act is a strong statement to the rest of the world that the Philippines is serious and will not tolerate illegal wildlife trade,” he said.

An investigative report published by National Geographic Magazine in October found the Philippines was not only a major transit point for raw ivory, but that it was also a big consumer of religious icons made of the material.  

Investigative journalist Bryan Christy, who wrote the story, gave a presentation prior to the tusk destruction. “Wildlife trafficking is among the most profitable forms, perhaps the most profitable form, of illegal transnational crime because of the penalties," he stated. "The profits are good.  But the penalties are close to zero.”

Christy said in 1989 when Kenya burned 13 tons of ivory tusks, the act prompted CITES - the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species - to ban the ivory trade worldwide.  He says the ban worked until CITES allowed some ivory to be sold in Japan in 1999 and then in China in 2008.  Christy says China’s demand for ivory parallels its rising prosperity.

The National Geographic investigation found that ivory is mostly used for religious carvings in China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Christy says the ivory trade is a $50 million a year industry and may be much larger, since only about 10 percent of the trade has been traced.

Still, Lusaka Agreement Task Force Representative Bonaventure Ebayi was optimistic the public destruction of ivory in Manila could bring about a change on an even bigger scale than what happened in Kenya in 1989. “This is the first time that a consuming country decides voluntarily to destroy the ivory.  It is a stronger message,” he said.

Philippine environmental officials say the going rate for raw ivory is about $200 per kilogram.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: kwhit190211 from: usa
June 22, 2013 3:25 AM
Back again, my wife is a Filipino and she tells me this is the way it is in the Philippines.


by: kwhit190211 from: usa
June 22, 2013 3:24 AM
And, the other missing 8 tons was already sold to the crooks by the crooks in office.


by: kwhit190211 from: usa
June 22, 2013 3:22 AM
To my way of thinking that roller isn't doing squat!! And, if it actually does something, what are they going to do to the pieces that aren't destroyed? I think that they would just glue the small pieces up, let them dry then make something out of that. My way of thinking that it was all staged just for show. After the news cameras leave, their just going to pick everything up & it will go to the illegal trades. Nothing really happened here, just PR!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid