This Is What 6 Tons of Crushed Ivory Looks Like

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service crushed six tons of confiscated ivory near Denver on Thursday

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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.

17 comments
Chosun1
Chosun1

Carve an elephant tusk, hang by a noose:  The Chinese government executes people for less.

sidjeanmaggie
sidjeanmaggie

WHY AUTO CAPTIONS SUCK:
AUTO CAPTIONS READ:
"I wanna spend 35,000 DOLPHINS were killed by voters"

WHAT WAS SAID:
"By one estimate 35,000 elephants were killed by poachers"

Thanks TIME for making sure those with hearing loss can access this integral piece about dolphins being killed by voters....luckily the pressure on my auditory nerve wasn't so bad today or I might have been unable to catch what was actually being said, unlike the many fully Deaf viewers who would have either no idea what is being said or that know something is wrong but cannot hear it to know what it should say anyway.
Thank you either way for this prime example of why human captioners are so valuable and these autocaptions do more harm than good: giving off the impression of accessibility when none exists.

ciendolor
ciendolor

The gov't really knows how to raise value in a market....

ChrisWise
ChrisWise

I disagree to this. All ivory should be put into a vault so that one day future generations will at least have something left to mourn and remind.

formerlyjames
formerlyjames

This seems stupid to me.  Surely some better use could have been devised, especially for the art objects.  Older ivory art objects are on display in museums.   I also think of the illicit rhino tusk market where the tusks are ground up for medicinal purposes.  

BoboHongkong
BoboHongkong

tv say :  usa = 2nd largest buying of ivory product in the world

daveandoneta
daveandoneta

Since someone mentioned no one said it was Obama's fault I'll chime in. This ivory suffered the same fate that Obamacare will eventually. CRUSHED,

RichardBrubaker
RichardBrubaker

Less ivory the higher the price for it.This seems like a stupid thing to do.

notsacredh
notsacredh

It seems like a shame to destroy art, but if it wasn't destroyed, it wouldn't help to put an end to the ivory trade. The carved ivory can sell for a small fortune, but selling it just helps to continue the cycle. It was the right thing to crush the ivory.

ChrisMike
ChrisMike

They could've sold it. The US Gov has a lot of debt to pay.

yshabazz2
yshabazz2

What, no one here blaming Obama for something?

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@MaxWright1 You mean like the Capitalism that is ensuring that more and more of their range is developed to begin with? Funny thing about your idiot link, it claims that Capitalism is not to blaim for the poaching while neglecting to mention that the free market in Asia is what sets the prices for their ivory in the first place.

notsacredh
notsacredh

@formerlyjames, the art in museums was carved before it became illegal to import it. I have mixed feelings about it, but I think we had to draw the line somewhere. 

formerlyjames
formerlyjames

@RichardBrubaker 

The effect this ivory had on the market has passed, when it was removed from the supply chain over time.  The destruction has no effect on the illicit market, but I do agree that this is a weird thing to do, especially in regard to the art objects.  Surely it could have been put to better use such as education programs, whatever.