Belgium to crush ivory in response to global elephant crisis

This morning the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Laurette Onkelinx made a wonderful announcement, that Belgium would be destroying the entirety of its stockpiled ivory on April 9th, 2014. Belgium is joining the global ranks of countries and institutions that are alarmed at the crisis faced by elephants from the bloody ivory trade.

IFAW is proud to be organizing this event with the Belgian government. Publicly destroying ivory stockpiles (in this case the ivory will be crushed) helps focus the world’s attention on the plight of elephants and gives us a platform where we can tell the world that we are risking a future without one of our most iconic species! It is currently estimated that we are losing an elephant every 15 minutes to the bloody ivory trade – a rate that will surely lead to entire elephant populations being wiped out if nothing is changed.

I am looking forward to April 9th and taking part in this symbolic act. To show my support for elephants and the elephant range states that are battling the organized criminal syndicates that profit from butchering elephants. The date was chosen because it is one day before the EU plans to announce further plans to combat wildlife trafficking.

Belgium is just the latest country to publicly destroy their ivory stocks. France recently destroyed ivory at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, the US and China have both staged very public events around ivory destruction and in the UK IFAW supporters donated their own ivory as part of an ivory crush. Perhaps even more promisingly Tanzania, who just a few short years ago wanted to sell their ivory stockpiles, have also committed to destroying these symbols of dead elephants.

The fact is we cannot wait. In 2011 a record 24.3 tonnes of ivory were seized from traffickers. A year later that figure had risen to 30 tonnes. In 2013 a staggering 41.5 tonnes of ivory were seized. This is an important step in mobilizing governments and people to dedicate the necessary resources to stop wildlife crime but we must continue to push forward.

--SVT

For more information about IFAW efforts to protect wildlife from illegal trade, visit our campaign page.

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Experts

Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Cynthia Moss, IFAW Elephant Expert
IFAW Elephant Expert
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
James Isiche, Regional Director, East Africa
Regional Director, East Africa
Jason Bell, Program Director, Elephants Regional Director, South Africa
Program Director, Elephants, Regional Director, South Africa
Peter Pueschel, Director, International Environmental Agreements
Director, International Environmental Agreements
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Regional Director, South Asia