A lot of the ivory items on display at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge yesterday were absolutely beautiful: handcrafted carvings displaying incredibly artistic ability. But consider the fact that they wouldn't exist without the brutal killings of elephants, whose very survival as a species is threatened by the illegal ivory trade, and they become extraordinarily ugly, and more than deserving of being crushed. And so they were -- six tons worth -- in an event intended to put a dent in a horrific and bloody business. Get additional details and see more photos from our Nate Hemmert below. The items were collected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over a span of25 years
, and for Azzedine Downes, president and Chief Executive Officer of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the decision to pulverize them in a well-publicized display that made headlines across the country and the world was an important one.
Downes issued a statement that reads, "The U.S. government's movement to destroy nearly six tons of African and Asian elephant ivory conveys a powerful message about the urgent need to end illegal trafficking of parts of already imperiled species. The U.S. refuses to tolerate the toll ivory trafficking is taking on elephant populations, as well as the other threats to global and national security that arise in connection with wildlife crime. IFAW applauds this symbolic action and hopes that the next development toward ending the illegal ivory trade will be a full ivory moratorium in the U.S."
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