The Chinese government has crushed more than six tonnes of seized ivory — including complete tusks and carvings — as part of a global effort to thwart a worrying rise in elephant poaching.
Illegal killing of African elephants is at near-record levels, driven in part by demand in an increasingly wealthy Asia. Although there is a legal ivory market in China, much of the ivory poached in Africa is smuggled into the country and sold on the black market.
Today 6.2 tonnes of ivory was thrown into two crushers in Dongguan as the government symbolized its stated policy to crack down on the illegal trade.
“The event, the first public ivory destruction in China, was to demonstrate the country’s determination to discourage illegal ivory trade, protect wildlife and raise public awareness,” said Zhang Jianlong, deputy head of the State Forestry Administration (SFA), according to state news agency Xinhua.
The move has been welcomed by wildlife groups.
“We congratulate China’s government for showing the world that elephant poaching and illegal ivory consumption is unacceptable,” said Cristián Samper, president of the Wildlife Conservation Society, in a statement. “If China were to destroy the remainder of its ivory stocks and lead the world by committing not to buying ivory in the future, it would have a transformative, positive impact on the survival of African elephants.”
Last month the US government destroyed a similar weight of ivory in its own public crushing.