6 tons of seized ivory crushed
Steve Oberholtzer, a special agent for the Fish and Wildlife Service, talks about ivory poachers as he is surrounded by tons of ivory at the the National Wildlife Property Repository at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge near Commerce City, Colo., on Wednesday. Over 6-tons of ivory tusk and carvings worth millions of dollars that will be crushed at the facility on Thursday. The items were seized from smugglers, traders and tourists at U.S. ports of entry after a global ban on the ivory trade went into effect in 1989. AP photo
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — U.S. officials on Thursday destroyed more than 6 tons of confiscated ivory tusks, carvings and jewelry — the bulk of the U.S. “blood ivory” stockpile — and urged other nations to follow suit to fight a $10 billion global trade that slaughters tens of thousands of elephants each year.
Thousands of ivory items accumulated over the past 25 years were piled into a large pyramid-shaped mound, then dumped into a steel rock crusher that pulverized it all into dust and tiny chips at the National Wildlife Property Repository just north of Denver.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will donate the particles to a yet-to-be-determined museum for display.
“These stockpiles of ivory fuel the demand. We need to crush the stores of ivory worldwide,” said agency director Dan Ashe.
Before the crush, Fish and Wildlife officials showed off thousands of confiscated ivory tusks, statues, ceremonial bowls, masks and ornaments — a collection they said represented the killing of more than 2,000 adult elephants.
The items were seized from smugglers, traders and tourists at U.S. ports of entry after a global ban on the ivory trade took effect in 1989. The ivory being destroyed didn’t include items legally imported or acquired before the 1989 global ban.