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Photos of the Day: Massive ivory crush intended to raise awareness of elephant poaching

Categories: News, Photos

ivory.crush.2.jpg
Photo by Nate Hemmert
A lot of the ivory items on display at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge yesterday were absolutely beautiful: handcrafted carvings displaying incredibly artistic ability. But consider the fact that they wouldn't exist without the brutal killings of elephants, whose very survival as a species is threatened by the illegal ivory trade, and they become extraordinarily ugly, and more than deserving of being crushed. And so they were -- six tons worth -- in an event intended to put a dent in a horrific and bloody business. Get additional details and see more photos from our Nate Hemmert below.

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Photo by Nate Hemmert
The items were collected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over a span of 25 years, and for Azzedine Downes, president and Chief Executive Officer of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the decision to pulverize them in a well-publicized display that made headlines across the country and the world was an important one.

Downes issued a statement that reads, "The U.S. government's movement to destroy nearly six tons of African and Asian elephant ivory conveys a powerful message about the urgent need to end illegal trafficking of parts of already imperiled species. 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. 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."

ivory.crush.5.jpg
Photo by Nate Hemmert
Continue to see more photos of yesterday's ivory crush.


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23 comments
Travis Herman
Travis Herman

I shouldn't have the power to bestow rights upon any living thing.

Frank Catalfano
Frank Catalfano

tell oboma to find them jobs , and mabe they will stop poaching

Craig Maybell
Craig Maybell

Are you willing to bestow upon elephants the same rights as man?

Selin Ponce
Selin Ponce

What a waste of ivory. Put it in a damn museum. Crushing it into dust isn't going to fix anything.

Matt Morava
Matt Morava

Trophy taking is common among big game hunters and serial killers.

Lisa Wolf DeWitt
Lisa Wolf DeWitt

since the elephants were already dead, it seems like the items could have been stamped/marked in some way that they were sold as part of a fund-raising program to educate people about poaching. seems like a waster of the elephant's death and the money that could have potentially been raised to help stop it.

Travis Herman
Travis Herman

Is poaching punishable by death? If not, let's do that.

Ray Koren
Ray Koren

supply vs. demand . You just reduced to supply thus upping pricing and creating demand for more to be harvested.

Ed Haas
Ed Haas

Also, yes, human bones can in the right circumstances make good art. See the Paris catacombs as a rare example that works. Probably the ONLY example, but you get my point.

Ed Haas
Ed Haas

I am 100% against poaching by the way, I just don't see how much of an impact this sort of act could have on actual poaching. The art is subjective to taste of course, but shouldn't be destroyed to send an example. If I thought for a second this thing would help the 'cause', I'd be all for it.

Craig Maybell
Craig Maybell

So instead of elephant tusks, this "art" would have been made from human bones and you'd be a-okay with that as well, Eddie?

Kristin Kephart Hardgrove
Kristin Kephart Hardgrove

Apparently, the United States is the second top consumer of ivory products. This is not an issue for just the Middle East or Asia. It's a problem worldwide.

Ryan M Zeman
Ryan M Zeman

you have to look past the art. the point is that poaching animals to make art will not be tolerated. there are plenty of other mediums that these can be made out of

John Lambert
John Lambert

maybe we should crush the rich fucktwats who can afford and buy this type of crap

Ed Haas
Ed Haas

Let's smash a ton of art just to prove a point? Screw that. There has to be other ways to prove your point than crushing already made art.

Erik Brack
Erik Brack

There are two primary markets for this stuff: the Middle East and the Far East, namely China. Get them to stop, the trade stops.

emmyla
emmyla

@Lisa Wolf DeWitt 

Absolutely not!  If they were to say, "well the animals are already dead and the artwork is pretty, just don't do it again"  Poachers would laugh in their faces and realized that once they got it into our country it was fine.  When you stamp/mark and sell an item for money it gives it value which is EXACTLY the opposite of what they are trying to do.  When ivory has no value there is no demand and then they will choke out the suppliers!!  
Please change your thought process!  Google images of poached elephants, that will help!

emmyla
emmyla

@Ed Haas 

Seriously?  It's an act to show the poachers, artists, traffickers that their efforts were wasted and worth nothing.

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