In an ongoing group effort to combat the illegal ivory trade, more than a ton of ivory was crushed in Central Park on Thursday.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation [DEC] partnered with some of the world’s most prominent public and private wildlife conservation groups to crush stores of illegal ivory confiscated by state law enforcement.
The crushed items included an array of objects made from ivory — tusks, trinkets, statues, jewelry and other decorative pieces — worth an estimated $8.5 million dollars. The ivory was destroyed to send a clear message that the state will not tolerate trading of the material made from precious elephant tusks. Ivory has historically been collected by poachers who kill the elephants to collect their tusks, a practice that threatens Africa’s dwindling elephant population.
Several groups were involved, including the International Fund for Animal Welfare [IFAW] which lobbies against the ivory trade and the killing of elephants.
Wildlife advocate and music legend Mick Fleetwood has been as an IFAW ambassador for many years and helped pass a state bill in Hawaii last year that cracks down on ivory trafficking.
“In the last four or five years I’ve become part of a process which is aware and becoming more aware and more desperately trying to do something, to whatever avail I can do. That’s what this is about,” Fleetwood told ABC News. Fleetwood added that his ex-wife Lynn, who stood by his side in Central Park, brought him into the fold as an advocate in their home state of Hawaii, one of the top three ivory markets in the U.S.
“Hawaii was one of seven different states that have passed legislation banning the sale of ivory,” Jeffrey Flocken the IFAW North American Regional Director said. “These laws are going to stop ivory from coming in and being sold in the major markets that existed before.”
Bans on the ivory trade have been passed in several states that were top markets for ivory — New York, New Jersey, California and Hawaii. Advocacy groups, including IFAW, are advocating for stronger wildlife protections and initiatives on both the federal and state levels.
They say symbolic events like the ivory…