PICTURES: France crushes 3 tons of seized elephant ivory to dust
#IvoryCrush - Éléphants en danger ! (WARNING: Graphic images: in French with French titles) by the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy - having trouble seeing the video? Use the link to the right - developpement-durable
There are some events about which one can feel deep within oneself the historic significance they are taking on. One feels privileged to take part and to see the turning point they represent in the evolution of society.
On Thursday 6 February late morning I was invited by the French Government in Paris, on the Champ de Mars, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, to witness the destruction by crushing of more than 3 tons of ivory seized by French Customs over a period of 20 years.
Although it is terrifying to imagine the number of slaughtered elephants represented by these 3 tons made up of tusks, sculptures and jewellery, we welcome the fact that the French authorities have chosen to send out a strong signal to both traffickers and consumers.
France is the first European country to join the momentum started by the United States in November 2013 and continued by China last month.
IFAW, along with other NGOs, was able to provide all its expertise to the French authorities to support their commitment to put a stop to ivory trafficking and the killing of elephants.
IFAW praises the determination of the French authorities in the fight against the illegal ivory trade and more widely against criminal activity affecting wildlife. Awareness of the need for joint and concerted action by governments is now being raised. We are on the right path, and other countries are already showing their commitment to follow in France's footsteps.
But let us not forget that other urgent measures must be decided and implemented.
Urgent, because seizures of illegal ivory around the world are continuing to increase: 24.3 tons in 2011, 30 tons in 2012 and 41.5 tons in 2013. Last month Togolese Customs seized 1.7 tons of ivory and 6 days later another 2.1 tons. The containers were bound for Vietnam.
We have begun a race against time. Destruction of ivory stockpiles is the first step.
You too can experience the historic destruction of 3 tons of ivory through these photos below.
Now, more than ever we must stay united!
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