Ivory being crushed today as UK public surrender items to support elephants ahead of London summit on illegal wildlife trade

IFAW/David Parry/PA
Monday, 10 February, 2014
London, UK

Dozens of ivory items ranging from whole elephant tusks to carvings and jewellery will be destroyed in spectacular fashion in London today (Mon) to raise awareness of the lethal ivory trade and show support for elephant protection.

Alarmingly, an elephant is killed every 15 minutes for its ivory. It is estimated that at least 25,000 elephants and up to 50,000 are slaughtered each year for their tusks.

Members of the public have been donating their unwanted ivory items to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) for a crush event due to take place at 2pm today at Victoria Tower Gardens, next to Westminster.

As well as ensuring the donated ivory does not find its way onto the marketplace, IFAW is staging the event to symbolise public support for elephants and call for increased measures to tackle the poaching crisis ahead of a high-level international summit on illegal wildlife trade taking place in the Capital on Thursday (13).

Hosted by UK Government, HRH Prince Charles and the Duke of Cambridge and with senior government officials from around 50 countries invited to attend, this is an unprecedented opportunity to influence world leaders to act to protect elephants, tigers, rhinos and other animals.

Those who have given up their ivory have been invited to attend the destruction event along with politicians and TV conservationist Bill Oddie. After the items have passed through a giant crusher, IFAW will hand remaining shards to the UK Border Force to permanently destroy them.

Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, said: “We’ve had a fantastic response to our ivory surrender which sends a clear message to governments attending the forthcoming summit that the UK public want to see an end to elephants being slaughtered for their ivory. We urge delegates attending the summit to do all they can to help end the poaching crisis and increase protection for elephants and other species by taking a strong stance against illegal wildlife trade.”

Bill Oddie added: “I am 100 percent supportive of IFAW's ivory destruction. This appalling trade is not only responsible for the deaths of elephants, but is also providing funds for activities that cause the deaths of many humans, be it by drugs or terrorism. Ironic indeed that one of the most ‘civilised’ creatures on Earth should be slaughtered to fuel hate, vanity and destruction.”
With recent ivory destructions in the US, China and France and a similar event planned in Hong Kong SAR of China, IFAW’s UK ivory crush will add to this growing momentum.

Conservationist and presenter Chris Packham is also backing the ivory surrender and crush. He said: “Sadly every piece of ivory represents a dead elephant so we need to stamp out the trade.”

Notes to Editors: Media are invited to attend IFAW’s ivory crush at 2pm on Monday (10) at Victoria Tower Gardens, next to Westminster. Professional photographs will also be available shortly after the event.

About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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