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

    Video Somali, AU Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    Somalia’s Western backers frustrated over country’s slow progress in establishing its armed forces to bring security after 25 years of chaos

    Israel Makes Push for Gaza Strip Recovery

    After years of economic blockade and attempts to disable Hamas, Israeli leaders eventually realized that Hamas’ downfall could lead to chaos or the rise of a more radical Jihadist group

    Slump in Chinese Tourists Hitting Hong Kong Retail

    Mainland Chinese account for up to three-quarters of visitors to Hong Kong, but that number is falling, and shopping centers are struggling to 'shift gears' and maintain sales

    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.
    Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shababi
    X
    Henry Ridgwell
    April 28, 2016 4:20 PM
    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Town Receives Refugees but Lacks Resources

    A wave of refugees is pouring into the Kurdish town of Afrin in northern Syria as a result of fighting between rebel forces and Islamic State militants. VOA’s Amina Misto went to the town and reports local authorities are finding it difficult to cope with this influx of internally displaced people. Bronwyn Benito narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Build Human Tissue on Animal Matrix

    The question has always been, if a gecko can grow back its tail, why can't we regenerate our lost body parts? Well, maybe we can, someday. Scientists are moving towards the ability to rebuild fully functioning organs, and have made significant progress replacing muscles and other tissue.
    Video

    Video Containing Chernobyl Radiation Continues 30 Years After Explosion

    April 26 marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Hundreds were killed following the explosion and it's estimated that thousands more have died from cancers caused by the radiation. Henry Ridgwell traveled to Chernobyl and reports for VOA on the continuing efforts to decommission the site -- and on the fledgling plans for a new future in the vast exclusion zone.
    Video

    Video Frustration Builds Among Refugees Trapped at Macedonian Border

    On the Greek border with Macedonia, 12,000 refugees continue to wait. Since the route to the rest of Europe was closed last month, the makeshift camp at Idomeni has seen protests and tear gas. But while those here wait, their frustration grows — as do reports of people attempting to find new ways of continuing their journey. John Owens reports from Idomeni.
    Video

    Video Researchers: Bees Help Kenyan Farmers Fend Off Elephants

    Elephant crop-raiding continues to be a major source of human-wildlife conflict in Kenya, so one elephant researcher is helping to alleviate the problem near Tsavo East National Park with beehive fences, which use elephants’ natural aversion to bees to deter them from farms. VOA’s Jill Craig visited the area ahead of this month's Giants Club Summit, which will bring together dignitaries at Mount Kenya to find solutions to combat poaching, the No. 1 threat to elephants.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora