U.S. Destroys Confiscated Ivory Stockpile, Sends Message that Wildlife Trafficking, Elephant Poaching Must be Crushed
For Immediate Release
November 14, 2013
Following President’s Executive Order, U.S. Steps Up International Efforts to Fight Wildlife Trafficking
The United States today destroyed its six-ton stock of confiscated elephant ivory, sending a clear message that the nation will not tolerate wildlife crime that threatens to wipe out the African elephant and a host of other species around the globe. The destruction of this ivory, which took place at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Property Repository on Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge near Denver, Colorado, was witnessed by representatives of African nations and other countries, dozens of leading conservationists and international media representatives. It is the latest in a series of actions by the Obama administration designed to crack down on international poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking.
“Rising demand for ivory is fueling a renewed and horrific slaughter of elephants in Africa, threatening remaining populations across the continent,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “We will continue to work aggressively with the Department of Justice and law enforcement agencies around the world to investigate, arrest and prosecute criminals who traffic in ivory. We encourage other nations to join us in destroying confiscated ivory stockpiles and taking other actions to combat wildlife crime.”
Some six tons of ivory were pulverized by an industrial rock crusher in front of some of the world’s most influential conservationists. Speakers included U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe; Ginette Hemley, Senior Vice President of World Wildlife Fund; Azzedine Downes, CEO of the International Fund for Animal Welfare; and Paula Kahumbu, Executive Director of WildlifeDirect. Remarks were also provided by Robert Dreher, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and Judy Garber, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, U.S. Department of State.
“By crushing its contraband ivory tusks and trinkets, the U.S. government sends a signal that it will not tolerate the senseless killing of elephants,” said Carter Roberts, President and CEO of World Wildlife Fund. “Other countries need to join the United States, Gabon, Kenya and the Philippines to take a stand against the crime syndicates behind this slaughter."