November 20, 2013
U.S. federal officials used a Powerscreen impact crusher last week to discourage poachers and wildlife traffickers from obtaining and distributing elephant ivory.
Officials pulverized 6 tons of illegal elephant ivory during an “Ivory Crush” event at at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Property Repository at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge near Denver, Colorado, last Thursday.
Event attendees included representatives of African nations and other countries, dozens of leading conservationists and international media members.
The Ivory Crush event was part of U.S. government initiative designed to take action against international poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking.
The event follows an executive order President Barack Obama signed in 2013 calling for a new task force to address wildlife trafficking and allocating $10 million to help Africa fight against poaching and the illegal trade of wildlife products.
“Rising demand for ivory is fuelling a renewed and horrific slaughter of elephants in Africa, threatening remaining populations across the continent,” Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said. “We will continue to work aggressively with the Department of Justice and law enforcement agencies around the world to investigate, arrest and prosecute criminals who traffic in ivory. We encourage other nations to join us in destroying confiscated ivory stockpiles and taking other actions to combat wildlife crime.”
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) banned the international trade of ivory in 1989. Since then, the U.S. government has confiscated several tons of illegal ivory.
The international trade of ivory has become a major worldwide issue because it puts elephants in danger of extinction.
“By crushing its contraband ivory tusks and trinkets, the U.S. government sends a signal that it will not tolerate the senseless killing of elephants,” said Carter Roberts, President and CEO of World Wildlife Fund, “Other countries need to join the United States, Gabon, Kenya and the Philippines to take a stand.”
At the Ivory Crush event, the Powerscreen was able to crush ivory tusks, ornaments and jewelry to less than 3/4 inches. The crusher’s recirculating conveyor ensured that any material not crushed to specification after a first crush went through the crusher chamber a second time.
Other countries have also publicly destroyed ivory, using methods such as burning and flat rolling.