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New York crushes tons of confiscated ivory in Central Park

Officials destroy trinkets, jewellery and ornate objects in public to show New York’s commitment to ending the ivory trade.

21:04, UK,Thursday 03 August 2017

Part of the ivory crushing machine used to destroy carved items in New York

Video: Celebrity endorsement for ivory crushing

Nearly two tons of ivory objects have been crushed in New York to demonstrate the state’s commitment to ending the illegal ivory trade.

The items fed through a rock crusher are believed to have been made from the tusks of at least 100 slaughtered elephants.

Trinkets, ornate carvings and jewellery – some of them extremely valuable – were among the hundreds of confiscated items destroyed during the event in Central Park.

Officials dispose of carved ivory in a crushing machine in New York's Central Park
Image: Officials dispose of carved ivory in a crushing machine in New York’s Central Park

New York outlawed the sale of ivory in 2014, but an international ban on the trade of elephant ivory has existed for decades.

Despite this, poachers continue to illegally slaughter thousands of animals every year.

“Gangs and terrorists gun down elephants indiscriminately – 96 of them on a daily basis – using automatic weapons and any weapons they can get their hands on,” said Basil Seggos, New York’s environmental conservation chief.

“They literally tear the ivory, the tusks, out of these elephants using chainsaws and machines.”

Nearly two tonnes of ivory objects will be destoryed
Image: Nearly two tons of ivory objects have been destroyed

Before destruction, the artefacts were put on display in Albany.

Some critics have argued that destroying ivory could drive up black market prices by increasing scarcity, thus encouraging more poaching.

Others argue that it is wasteful and that it would be better to sell confiscated ivory to pay for conservation efforts in poor African countries.