U.S. to Destroy 6 Tons of Ivory This Week

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In a first, U.S. officials are going to destroy their massive stockpile of illegal ivory this week, hoping to send a zero-tolerance message to elephant poachers.

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​On Thursday (Nov. 14), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will pulverize nearly 6 tons (5.4 tonnes) of illegal ivory items, from whole tusks to tiny trinkets, which have been seized over the past 25 years as a result of smuggling busts and criminal investigations.

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The ivory crush will take place at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Commerce City, Colo., just outside of Denver.

Seized ivoryis typically kept as evidence until criminal cases are over. After that, the objects can be used to educate the public and train law enforcement officials. But FWS officials say that since the 1980s they have collected far more ivory than they need to fulfill those purposes. Thursday's event will mark the first time such a large amount of ivory is being destroyed in the United States.

"Destroying this ivory tells criminals who engage in poaching and trafficking that the United States will take all available measures to disrupt and prosecute those who prey on and profit from the deaths of these magnificent animals," FWS officials said in a fact sheet.

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The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) banned the international ivory trade in 1989. But a CITES report published last year found that elephant poaching was at its highest level in a decade and rising.

FWS officials say they are working with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to develop "a creative and informative use" of the crushed ivory, with a goal to educate the public about poaching.

The ivory crush was initially scheduled to take place in October, but it was postponed due to the government shutdown.

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brian_hargett

Why don't they sell it to pay down the national debt? Instead they are raping me in taxes. I have a family to feed. They have these pork belly projects that are taking billions. They are not really using the money there, they use those cover up names to put our money in their pockets. We are being robbed. Someone should sue the government for misappropriation of funds. Just my thoughts on it.

November 14 2013 at 10:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Curtis J. Yip

So how does this deter poachers from selling ivory? All the ivory you profited off of will be seized and destroyed! Umm, didn't think this through did they?

November 14 2013 at 9:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Terry P Salter

I wished the people were so concerned while we killed billions of Buffalo for the skin and the left rotting where they were skinned.We almost killed off the beaver for their skin to make hat's,We killed billions of passenger pigeons until the last one was gone forever but at least most of those were eat for food.I'm afraid the elephant will go the same way but for their .
ivory and whats left will be in zoo's or private ranches

November 12 2013 at 4:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nornoel

No one is a worse enemy of the ivory poaching trade than I - but really, after these poor creatures died for their ivory, couldn\'t something better be done with it - maybe like using it for a memorial to the slaughtered elephants?

November 12 2013 at 2:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Shawn

yup waste of ivory might as well use it, destroying it wont bring back the dead animals.

November 12 2013 at 12:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Terry P Salter

Bet they don't destroy the money they seize from drugs or what ever.Stupid is as stupid does.To destroy good ivory on the notion that it will do anything to stop poaching in Africa is beyond stupid.

November 12 2013 at 9:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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