Through a major collaborative effort, on Thursday, August 3, 2017, at 10:30 a.m. more than one ton of confiscated illegal elephant ivory totaling up to six million dollars will be crushed in New York City’s Central Park in a symbolic move to raise awareness of the increasingly rampant poaching and ivory trade epidemics.
The ivory tusks, trinkets, statues, jewelry, and other decorative items will be destroyed in a crusher donated by Emerald Equipment Systems.
The organizers and public will gather at Central Park, between Sheep Meadow and Naumburg Bandshell, to watch while collectively sending a clear message that the state will not tolerate wildlife crime that threatens to wipe out Africa’s endangered elephant population
“This crush demonstrates that we are united in our efforts and desire to put an end to the ivory trade. AWF continues to urge all countries to implement a complete ban on ivory trade and those with ivory stockpiles to destroy them as a message to the market that there is no future in the ivory trade,” Kaddu Sebunya, AWF President, said in a release issued from Nairobi, Kenya.
The crush follows a relentless campaign by AWF and other conservation organizations to end the trade of wildlife products.
Most recently, Japanese giant Internet retailer Rakuten succumbed to the pressure and announced it was banning the sale of ivory on its site, with trading to be phased out over the next month.
In December 2016, China announced a ban on ivory products that will go into effect at the end of 2017.
In the United States, federal and state sanctions are also helping to stop the trade in ivory and other wildlife products.
Tragically, an estimated 96 African elephants are killed every day by poachers for their ivory which translates to an elephant being killed every 15 minutes.
AWF referenced that the Great Elephant Census that was released in September 2016 revealed a 30 percent decline in Africa’s savanna elephant population between 2007 and 2014. Poaching was identified as the predominant cause of this dramatic loss. Additionally, more than 20 tons of poached elephant ivory, prized as “white gold” in parts of Asia and China, as well as the United States, was seized globally in 2016.
The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) is the primary advocate for the protection of wildlife and wild lands as an essential part of a modern and prosperous Africa. Founded in 1961 to focus on Africa’s unique conservation needs, AWF articulates a uniquely African vision, bridging science and public policy and demonstrating the benefits of conservation to ensure the survival of the continent’s wildlife and wild lands.
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