News ≫ Sri Lanka becomes the first country to destroy over 350 ivory tusks.

Sri Lanka becomes the first country to destroy over 350 ivory tusks.

Jan 27, 2016
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Today 359 ivory tusks, Sri Lanka’s biggest-ever haul and the country’s entire ivory stockpile were crushed and destroyed at the Galle Face Green in Colombo, an act that is meant to demonstrate the country’s intolerance for wildlife crime. Later, the ivory will be burned in an incinerator, according to National Geographic news. This is the first time a South Asian country is destroying its illegal ivory stockpile. Globally, Sri Lanka is the sixteenth country to destroy its ivory, joining countries like the U.S., Kenya, Belgium, Chad, China, Thailand, the Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Mozambique, France, Gabon, Zambia, Hong Kong SAR China, the Philippines, and the United Arab Emirates. Today’s ivory crush began with a religious ceremony performed by Buddhist monks, and Hindu, Muslim and Christian representatives, who prayed for elephants that were butchered for the tusks. Scientists estimate that between 2010 and 2012, poachers have killed over 100,000 African elephants. But whether the destruction of ivory stockpiles actually reduces elephant poaching has been heavily debated. Yet, flooding markets with ivory doesn’t help curb poaching either, experts say, and may even increase poaching. One problem, Daniel Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, told Scientific American, is that putting more ivory into the legal supply chain “would create a smokescreen for illicit trade in ivory, making law enforcement and effective prosecution of criminals more difficult.”

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