As ivory smuggling activitieshave continued increasing fordecades, African elephantsare now facing their severestsituation ever. Poachers remove their tusksbrutally, which almost always results in abloody death.
Attempting to join many other countriesin containing the problem, the Chinesegovernment destroyed 6.1 tons ofconfiscated ivory on January 6 in DongguanCity of southern Guangdong Province.
Carried out by the State ForestryAdministration (SFA) and the GeneralAdministration of Customs, the significantmove was China’s first public ivory destructionsince 1949.
“Two crushers worked simultaneously,”an on-site employee revealed. “Smallercrude tusks and crafted ivory pieces weredumped into machines and ground up,while huge tusks had to first be cut intosmaller pieces with a chainsaw.”
According to the SFA, some of thepulverized ivory will be taken to museumsto raise public awareness about wildlifeprotection. The rest will be stored and keptby the government.
Based on incomplete statistics, at least17 tons of elephant tusks have been confiscatedby China’s General Administration ofCustoms since 2011. This huge volume ofraw tusks, which is estimated to have comefrom about 6,000 elephants, was all sealedunder the supervision of local law-enforcementdepartments or the SFA, except for asmall amount to be used for research andinvestigation.
“Activities such as ivory smugglingand illegal trade are definitely the biggestthreats to the protection of African elephantsand other wildlife,” Zhao Shucong,director of the SFA, commented. “The firstpublic ivory destruction in China demonstratedthe country’s determination to discourageillegal ivory trade, protect wildlifeand raise public awareness.”
Having witnessed the entire process ofivory destruction, John Scanlon, secretarygeneralof CITES (Convention on InternationalTrade in Endangered Species of WildFauna and Flora), suggested that the significantmove by the Chinese government notonly increased public awareness about theharms of trafficking in endangered species,but also evidenced China’s resolve to endillegal activities and protect wildlife.