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Government crushes five tons of ivory

Wildlife groups praise Philippines' gesture against illegal trade

<p>Workers destroy an estimated five tons of elephant tusks in Manila (photo by Ponce Luna)</p>

Workers destroy an estimated five tons of elephant tusks in Manila (photo by Ponce Luna)

  • Joe Torres, Manila
  • Philippines
  • June 21, 2013
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Philippine authorities today destroyed an estimated five tons of seized elephant ivory valued at $10 million.

The tusks were crushed using road rollers at the Ninoy Aquino Park and Wildlife Center in Quezon City.

“The public destruction of seized ivory sends a bold message to traders that the Philippines shall no longer tolerate the trade in ivory or any other illegal wildlife products,” said Gregg Yan, WWF spokesman in the Philippines. 

In March, the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) identified the Philippines among nine countries and territories considered most heavily implicated in the illegal trade in ivory.

ETIS is the world’s foremost database of elephant product seizures, providing insights into all aspects of the illicit ivory trade. 

The wildlife trade monitoring network, TRAFFIC, also applauded today’s destruction of the ivory stockpile.

Chris Shepherd, acting director for TRAFFIC’s Southeast Asia program said: "it is heartening" to see the Philippines taking the issue of ivory trade seriously.

"It sends a message to other countries in the region, notably Thailand, whose prime minister publicly committed the country to ending their ivory trade, and Malaysia, who has also indicated its intention to destroy seized ivory stockpiles, that concerted international action is urgently needed," he said.

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