Just four months after officials pulverized $10 million worth of ivory from its stockpile, China is once again taking a public stand against poachers and those who smuggle such items. In Hong Kong, officials began the year-long process of burning 28 tonnes (approximately 61,000 pounds) of ivory tusks and other goods seized from smugglers. Destruction of the ivory was approved by a government committee on endangered species which was on the receiving end of intense pressure from conservation groups.
As Inhabitat reported late last year, Africa is poised to lose 20 percent of its elephant population over the next decade if illegal poaching continues at its current rate. China has continually been the target of conservationists’ outrage over this senseless slaughter, as the country’s demand for ivory trinkets, jewelry, and other furnishings continues to grow. The situation has been particularly bad in Hong Kong–a transit point for the illegal ivory trade with tusk seizures rising steadily since 2009, reaching a record of 8,041 kilograms seized in 2013, reports the Guardian.
“Today’s ceremony sends a loud and clear message to both the local and the international community that the Hong Kong government is determined to curb illegal trade in elephant ivory,” the city’s environment secretary Wong Kam-sing told reporters as the first pieces of ivory were fed into an incinerator.
When complete, the project will be the world’s largest destruction of ivory to date, though not the first. France crushed three tonnes of illegal ivory in a ceremony at the foot of the Eiffel Tower in February. In late 2013, U.S. officials destroyed $10 billion worth of “blood ivory” at a rock crushing facility in Denver, Colorado. Whether or not the move will slow down illegal trade remains to be seen.
Via The Guardian