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Protecting Africa's Elephants


.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe, center, and U.S. Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell, right, prepare to select confiscated illegal ivory to crush.

Destruction of one ton of confiscated elephant ivory in New York’s Times Square, sends clear message that the United States will not tolerate wildlife crimes.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell joined U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Director Dan Ashe, Acting Assistant Secretary of State Judith Garber, and other leaders on June 19th, to destroy more than one ton of confiscated elephant ivory in New York’s Times Square, sending a clear message that the United States will not tolerate wildlife crimes that threaten to wipe out the African elephant and a host of other species around the globe.

The crush was conducted in partnership with the State of New York, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and New York State Senator Brad Hoylman (Manhattan).

Secretary Jewell, who serves as co-chair with Secretary of State Kerry and Attorney General Lynch of the President’s Task Force on Combating Wildlife Trafficking, joined Director Ashe and thousands of onlookers who witnessed an industrial rock crusher, generously donated by Powerscreen, crush raw and carved ivory tusks and statues.

Secretary Jewell said the ivory crush “serves as a stark reminder to the rest of the world that the United States will not tolerate wildlife crimes, especially against iconic and endangered animals.”

“The message is loud and clear: This Administration will stop the poachers in their tracks, stop the profits and work with our international partners to protect our global natural heritage.”

The Times Square ivory crush builds on momentum generated by the Fish and Wildlife Service’s initial destruction of six tons of contraband ivory in November 2013. Since then, nine governments have followed suit to destroy ivory. Campaigns to reduce demand for ivory both domestically and overseas, and to strengthen international laws and enforcement, have further elevated the issue of wildlife trafficking globally.

“Regardless of their country of origin, we all lose if elephants, rhinos, tigers and other iconic animals disappear. The only way we will save them is together through a concerted global effort to end the scourge of wildlife trafficking and the devastation it brings to these animals,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe.

“The United States”, he said, “underscored its commitment to winning this fight, and we call on all nations to join us by destroying their confiscated ivory stockpiles, enacting and enforcing strong regulations protecting wildlife from illegal trade, and reducing demand.”

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