Chinese authorities recently pulverized six tons of confiscated elephant tusks and carvings at an event in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.
China is the world’s biggest market for ivory. Almost 50,000 elephants were killed for their tusks in 2011/2012. The six tons destroyed represents but a fraction of the 45 tons confiscated in China between 2009 and 2013. That the rest wasn’t destroyed has led to speculation within the international conservation community that there is a debate within the Chinese government on the issue and that the crush was a half-measure.
Nevertheless, the action was a sign that some officials in the country understand the seriousness of the problem.
In the U.S., national security concerns that profits from the sale of poached ivory are funding terrorists and the drugs and arms trades in unstable African countries, prompted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to crush six tons of ivory last November. The crush involved nearly the entire U.S. stockpile of ivory.
A National Geographic report on the crush is here.
There are concerns that destroying seized ivory could worsen elephant poaching by making it more scarce and pushing the price up.