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The NY ivory crush

New York State to destroy more than one tonne of illegal ivory in Central Park
A wild African elephant, Tanzania

New York State will destroy more than one tonne of illegal elephant ivory in Central Park at a high-profile public event on Thursday 03 August at 10:30.

The event is being organised by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC), with support from Tiffany & Co., a member of the US Wildlife Trafficking Alliance.

Confiscated ivory

Partnering organisations include some of the world’s most prominent wildlife conservation NGOs: African Wildlife Foundation, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, The Humane Society of the United States, International Fund for Animal Welfare, National Geographic, Natural Resources Defense Council, Save Animals Facing Extinction, United States Wildlife Trafficking Alliance and WildAid.

The ivory tusks, trinkets, statues, jewellery and other decorative items, confiscated through NYDEC and federal enforcement actions, will be placed into an enormous rock crusher, donated by Emerald Equipment Systems, and destroyed while supporters gather to watch.

‘A clear message’

An estimated 96 elephants are killed each day in Africa due to ivory poaching. The event has been organised to send a clear message that the US will not tolerate wildlife crime that threatens the extinction of Africa’s elephants.

The ivory was seized from individuals and companies illegally selling it in New York. Over 650 ivory pieces were seized with an estimated value of over $6 million.

Stricter sanctions

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo introduced and signed a new law in 2014 that effectively banned the sale of elephant and mammoth ivory and rhinoceros horns, and strengthened the criminal and civil penalties for buyers and sellers whose actions are endangering elephant populations worldwide.

The law allowed for limited exceptions on certain products, such as antiques demonstrated to be at least 100 years old and containing less than 20% ivory. The adoption of these stricter sanctions was a major step in deterring the ivory trade in the US and protecting this important species.

The battle against poaching

Statewide ivory bans have also been passed in California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington. A federal ivory ban was enacted last year. Since 1989, 22 countries and territories have destroyed more than 270 metric tons of confiscated ivory.

‘The battle against elephant poaching is far from over, but New York is showing the world that it is serious about stopping the killing, stopping the trafficking, and stopping the demand. We encourage all New Yorkers to attend this dramatic event and see first-hand the ravages of poaching, and what is being done to stop it.’

WCS executive vice president for public affairs and director of the 96 Elephants campaign

The event will be held between the Sheep Meadow and Naumburg Bandshell.

Click here for more from the Wildlife Conservation Society.

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