Seized ivory destroyed by officials in effort to combat illegal trade

Chinese feed six tonnes of confiscated ivory into crushing machines

A worker walking on a pile of elephant tusks of confiscated ivory prior to crushing by Chinese customs officials  in Huangpu Port yesterday. Photograph: EPA

A worker walking on a pile of elephant tusks of confiscated ivory prior to crushing by Chinese customs officials in Huangpu Port yesterday. Photograph: EPA

Tue, Jan 7, 2014, 01:00

Six tonnes of confiscated ivory were destroyed by the authorities in China yesterday in an effort to combat the illegal trade in elephant tusks.

The seized ivory was fed into crushing machines in the southern city of Dongguan, in what was described as the first public destruction of ivory in China.

Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Programme, welcomed the move. “We congratulate China and the State Forestry Administration on this milestone event.”

According to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (Cites), elephant poaching in Africa could lead to local extinctions if the present killing rates continue. The latest Cites data estimates some 47,000 African elephants were killed in 2011 and 2012, with the situation “particularly acute” in war-torn Central Africa.

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