On Thursday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducted a historic crush of the nation’s 6 tons of confiscated ivory. At the Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Repository near Denver, a stone crusher pulverized the artifacts, which the government has collected over the past 25 years.
The ivory artifacts came in all shapes and sizes. From raw elephant tusks, to carved figurines and jewelry, a bit of everything went into the large machine that destroyed the stockpiles.
The crush came on the heels of Secretary of State John Kerry’s announcement of a $1 million reward in exchange for information that leads to the destruction of the notorious Xaysavang trafficking network. Both events were intended to send a clear antipoaching message to wildlife traffickers.
“The U.S. refuses to tolerate the toll ivory trafficking is taking on elephant populations, as well as the other threats to global and national security that arise in connection with wildlife crime,” said Azzedine Downes, CEO of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, in a statement. “IFAW applauds this symbolic action and hopes that the next development toward ending the illegal ivory trade will be a full ivory moratorium in the U.S.”
The crushed ivory is being temporarily stored at the repository, though the Fish and Wildlife Service is working with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to identify the best educational use for the material.
Check out pictures from the historic crush below.