A Talk on the Wild Side.
The government of the Republic of Congo burns 4.7 metric tons of ivory to demonstrate their commitment to stop wildlife trafficking. Credit: Emma Stokes/WCS
On Wednesday, as the work day was just beginning at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service headquarters, a YouTube video began circulating on Twitter showing the destruction of more than 10 metric tons of ivory by the Dubai Ministry of Environment and Water. Just hours later, photos and remarks began to appear on Twitter describing the burning of more than 4.7 metric tons of ivory in Brazzaville, Congo.
These two countries, which sit on different continents and are separated by more than 6,000 miles, demonstrated a commitment to one very common goal – ending wildlife trafficking. Since the U.S. Ivory Crush took place in November 2013, eight other governments –Belgium, Chad, China, France, Hong Kong, Ethiopia, Kenya and the Republic of Congo – have followed suit.
We applaud yesterday's ivory destructions by the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of Congo. These and other similar efforts have raised public awareness about illegal wildlife trade and helped elevate this issue to the highest levels of governments.
Now, we—as a global community—must make good on our commitments to combat wildlife trafficking. The destruction of confiscated ivory stockpiles is just the beginning. Unless the illegal and inhumane slaughter of elephants, rhinos and other irreplaceable species is halted, we will likely see them disappear from the wild in the next several decades. To prevent the loss of the Earth's natural heritage, we must expand and deepen our efforts to protect and restore wild populations, crack down on poaching and trafficking networks, reduce consumer demand, and foster and manage legal and sustainable wildlife trade.
We look forward to working with our counterparts around the globe to eliminate the global epidemic of poaching and illegal wildlife trade.