In an historic effort to reduce demand for illegal wildlife parts and to raise awareness about the international poaching crisis, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service crushed 1 ton of confiscated elephant ivory in Times Square, the heart of New York City, on Friday.
A coalition of NGOs from all over the globe, including Tigers for Tigers, came together to witness this symbolic event in one of our country’s most iconic locations. Among others, special guests included Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe, actress Kristen Davis, and representatives in Congress from New York State. This year marks the second Ivory Crush event hosted by the United States -the first one occurred two years ago, in Denver.
The message is loud and clear - we need to do everything in our power to discourage illegal trade, increase enforcement and reduce demand for illegal wildlife products and parts. We cannot wait any longer and we need to take action now, before it is too late.
“If we want our children, our grandchildren, to see elephants in the wild and other species, we owe it to them to shut down the market that motivates poachers,” said Jewell.
The U.S. Ivory Crush event is just one of several recent ivory destruction events taking place throughout the world. We hope that other countries will follow, in hopes of stigmatizing the value of illegal wildlife products. Unless a tusk is connected to an elephant, it has no value. Unless we reduce the demand, the poaching will continue. We must stand up and tell the world that this matters to us! Only by shedding light on such dark practices can we end the threat of illegal poaching.
Over the past few years, the United States has made significant advances towards addressing wildlife trafficking, starting with President Obama’s Executive Order on Wildlife Trafficking in 2013. The establishment of a National Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking followed suit, as did the introduction of the Wildlife Trafficking Act of 2015 and the new Global Anti-Poaching Act. There is still more work to be done, but we are very confident that change is coming, and Tigers for Tigers will continue to tirelessly support these efforts.
You can participate in this week’s event by spreading the message about the Ivory Crush using the hash-tag #IvoryCrush. Follow our friends @USFWSInternatl and support their great work!
For more information about the Ivory Crush, click here.