Philippines Destroys 5 Tonnes of Illegal Ivory

Created: 2013-06-22 15:15 EST

Category: World > Asia Pacific

Philippine officials publically destroy five tonnes of ivory elephants tusks on Friday.

Authorities say the country is a major gateway for the illegal trade of ivory.

They hope that this public spectacle will convince citizens that poaching elephants to make money from their tusks is a serious crime.

[Theresa Mundita Lim, Director of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau]:
"Through this symbolic action, more people will be made aware of the implications that the ivory is not just ivory—especially here in the Philippines, we don't have elephants. They need to realize that ivory is contraband."

The tusks are mostly from African elephants that were seized between 2005 and 2009.

The illegal trade of ivory has tripled since 1998, with ivory going for up to $2,000 U.S. dollars per kilo on the black market.

Conservationists say the practice is speeding the decline of Africa's endangered elephant and rhinoceros populations.