One TON of ivory confiscated from illegal dealers crushed to dust in the middle of Times Square
- Category: News
- 30 June 2015
More than a ton of ivory confiscated from New York and Philadelphia was crushed in Times Square on Friday to show intolerance for elephant poaching and the illegal ivory trade.
The event demonstrated the urgency for stopping the criminal trade, which is killing elephants faster than the animals are reproducing, imperiling their populations, the US Fish and Wildlife Service said.
Roughly 907 kilograms of the elaborately carved ivory, some of it still in the form of an elephant's tusk, was on display on a table in Manhattan's Times Square.
Officials held it up dozens of statues piece by piece, then placed them on a conveyor belt that fed into an enormous mechanical crusher, where they was pulverized into dust.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service orchestrated an event in Manhattan's Times Square on Friday where dozens of ivory statues were crushed as a statement against elephant poaching and illegal trade of their tusks
The statues and other carvings, confiscated from dealers in New York and Philadelphia, were loaded on to a conveyor belt that crushed the artworks into dust
The ivory crush came the same week that the government of Tanzania announced that the country had lost half of its elephants in the last five years and now only has 43,000 left
'This is an illegal product and we feel that burning it or destroying it gets it out of commercial use and, therefore, there's less of a chance for it to find its way into the marketplace,' said Wildlife Conservation Society spokesman John Calvelli.
'It makes it really clear that it will never be used again.'
The ivory was confiscated from dealers and retailers in New York City and Philadelphia.
About 35,000 elephants are killed in Africa every year for their ivory, according to the Wildlife Service, which organized the event in partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society.
More than 100,000 were killed between 2011 and 2014, according to the Guardian.
The greatest losses have come in the African countries of Tanzania and Mozambique, which have some of highest number of elephants but have both seen their populations decrease by half in the last five years.