The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is the agency that has been put in charge of actually carrying out the destruction of the ivory. The method that will be used to destroy the rare commodity, will be a giant pulverizing machine. The ivory itself mostly comes from African elephants that were killed during illegal poaching hunts.
“In the past two years we have seen a dramatic escalation in wildlife trafficking that hasn’t been seen in the past,” said Dan Ashe, director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, at a press briefing on Tuesday. “This is very sophisticated, highly organized, syndicated trafficking.”
The motivation behind the destruction of the ivory is that it is being carried out to dissuade any further attempts by African poachers to export the ivory into the United States and other Western markets. The ivory stockpile is roughly 25 years worth of ivory, which any poacher can identify as a massive set back to their illegal operations, having received no money in exchange for decades of poaching.
The act of destroying ivory has been carried out in the past by many European countries as well, and it is a proven method of dissuading further poaching. In fact some recent studies have shown that confiscation and destruction of the ivory has set back poaching in some areas by as much as 60%. This is excellent news for the African elephants, which have been declining in population for a long time.
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US to destroy 6-ton stockpile of illegal ivory this week