6 tons of seized ivory to be crushed in Denver
Federal wildlife officials plan to crush more than 6 tons of seized ivory in Denver next month
9/10/13 20 minutes ago Associated Press
DENVER (AP) — Federal wildlife officials plan to crush more than 6 tons of ivory in Denver as part of a new push by the United States to combat illegal wildlife trafficking worldwide.
The ivory that is being stored in a warehouse near Denver was seized around the country in an effort to block imports of tusks from elephants that have been slaughtered for their ivory.
The seized items include large balls of ivory delicately carved in layers and whole tusks that have been sculpted into pagodas and scenes from daily life.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said publicly crushing the expensive smuggled tusks and carvings is part of an effort to put an end to what has become a $10 billion illegal industry. Steve Oberholtzer, the agency’s Denver-based special agent in charge, is lining up rock-grinders to pulverize the ivory in October.
Governments cooperating with the efforts to stem the slaughter of elephants already have destroyed some of the ivory seized from poachers, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Monday at a White House forum where the initiative was launched.
“The U.S. supports these actions, and we want to make sure we are doing the same,” Jewell said.
President Barack Obama issued an order July 1 to fight the killing of protected wildlife, stop the trafficking, and reduce demand for illegal rhino horns and ivory. Members of a newly created advisory council sketched a broad approach of enlisting governments, companies and nonprofits worldwide, the Denver Post reported Tuesday (http://tinyurl.com/pzmcz9g).
U.S. officials said they will also give $10 million to help fight poaching in Africa and will try to persuade Asian governments to outlaw trinkets and other products made from elephant ivory.
Tactics being considered include using technology to monitor elephants, a social media campaign in China to stigmatize the industry, and cooperation with companies such as eBay to curb commerce.
The National Wildlife Property Repository at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Colorado holds smuggled wildlife parts seized at seaports, border crossings and airports nationwide. Other items seized include leopard and tiger heads, bear claws and crocodile boots.
- U.S. Fish Wildlife Service – Crush Page
- About the Crush
- Crush Photos
- About the Poaching Crisis
- Elephant Ivory Investigations
- CITES & Elephant Conservation
- African Elephant Conservation Fund
- Asian Elephant Conservation Fund
- Key Elephant Projects
- FY 2013 Elephant Projects
- Federal Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking
- Executive Order on Wildlife Trafficking
- FACT SHEET: U.S. Support for Combating Wildlife Trafficking
What Ivory Crush Supporters are Saying:
“Rising demand for ivory is fueling a renewed and horrific slaughter of elephants in Africa, threatening remaining populations across the continent. 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 both in destroying confiscated ivory stockpiles and taking other actions to combat wildlife crime.”
Sally Jewell, U.S. Secretary of the Interior
“The United States is part of the problem, because much of the world’s trade in wild animal and plant species – both legal and illegal – is driven by U.S. consumers or passes through our ports on the way to other nations. We have to be part of the solution. The species and habitats of our planet support billions of people and drive the world’s economy. We all have a stake in ensuring their survival.
Similar demand for elephant ivory in the past led to devastating declines in the number of these giant animals, particularly in the 1970s and 1980s. Though many populations showed signs of recovery due to increased protections in the 1990s, rising global demand for ivory is erasing those hard-fought gains.”
Dan Ashe, Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
“Our special agents and wildlife inspectors are on the frontlines in the fight to combat ivory trafficking here in the U.S. They took the ivory destroyed today out of the hands of criminals and out of the global marketplace.”
William C. Woody, Assistant Director for Law Enforcement, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
“I hope the media and everyone who attends or hears about this “Ivory Crush” will spread the message far and wide: Elephants across their range are suffering horribly, and we are losing them at a terrifying rate. They could become extinct.
Do not buy ivory products. Support conservation efforts. We must all do what we can.
I commend the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for organizing this event and wish I could be there in person.”
Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace
America is showing great leadership, and crushing the national ivory stockpile is of huge symbolic importance. By removing that ivory from the
market for ever, it will send a strong message to the world that ivory cannot be a commodity if elephants are to survive.
Ian Douglas-Hamilton, OBE, Founder and CEO, Save the Elephants
“By destroying our domestic stocks of ivory, we send a very clear signal that these illegally- traded products should not be perceived as items of value. The terrible and criminal trade in these products is destroying wildlife species that are invaluable to us and to future generations; it is also undermining global security. The Justice Department views wildlife trafficking as a serious crime, and is committed to using every tool it has, under the Lacey Act, the Endangered Species Act, and other applicable laws, to stop this international criminal activity.”Robert G. Dreher Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.
“Wildlife trafficking is not just a conservation problem. It is an economic problem, a health problem, and a security problem. The State Department applauds the Department of Interior’s ivory crush for sending a strong signal to the world of the U.S. commitment to ending this pernicious trade. We will continue lead international efforts to this end.”
Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones, Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
“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,” “Other countries need to join the United States, Gabon, Kenya and the Philippines to take a stand against the crime syndicates behind this slaughter.”
Carter Roberts, President and CEO, World Wildlife Fund
“The destruction of the U.S. ivory stockpile speaks loud and clear to those who value ivory more than saving the elephant species from extinction. IFAW commends the government’s action that underscores the critical role the U.S. can play in ending the illegal ivory trade.”
Azzedine Downes, CEO, International Fund for Animal Welfare
“In 1989 awareness around the international ivory ban cut demand and poaching fell immediately. Destroying seized ivory is one method of drawing attention to the current crisis. Laws and enforcement can only do so much. It is vital to reach consumers. Simply put, when the buying stops, the killing can too.”
Peter Knights, WildAid Executive Director
US Using Trade Pacts to Fight Wildlife Poaching
June 17, 2014 7:12 AM VOAnews
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said wildlife poaching is funding terrorism and corruption.
For that reason, Froman said, the U.S. considers poaching a threat to global security because it’s driven by criminal elements, including terrorists using profits from items such as rhinoceros horns and elephant tusks to finance their activities.
To meet the threat, U.S. officials are emphasizing the environmental component of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement that the United States is negotiating with 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, Froman said in a Reuters report.
Similar efforts are also part of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement with the European Union, Reuters reported.
Froman spoke at a news conference at Kennedy Airport in New York Monday, standing next to a table heaped with illegal wildlife goods seized by U.S. customs officials.
They included stuffed lion and leopard heads, animal skins and figurines carved out of ivory.
Froman said terrorists use money gained from the illegal wildlife trade in Africa and Asia to fund their deadly activities.
U.S. officials have said they are working to reduce demand for illegal animal products at home and abroad, including Asia, where some believe such goods as powdered rhinoceros have medicinal benefits.
“The high demand for wildlife products is having a devastating impact, with iconic species like elephants and rhinos facing the risk of significant decline or even extinction,” Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said in a statement reported by Reuters.
“The president’s strategy to combat wildlife trafficking, including decreasing demand at home and abroad, is important to strengthen our nation’s leadership on countering the global security threat posed by the criminal markets that encourage poaching and illegal trade,” Jewell said.
- USFWS and ASEAN-WEN: A Trans-Pacific Wildlife Law Enforcement Partnership
- 5/26/15 President Obama announces more restrictions on sale of ivory from African elephants
- 7/26/15 FACT SHEET: Advancing Democracy, Human Rights, Gender Equality, Wildlife Conservation, and Governance in Africa
- 10/20/16 White House Film Screening of The Ivory Game