The dozens of elephants that are killed on a daily basis due to ivory poaching were ceremoniously avenged in Central Park on Thursday.
Nearly 2 tons of confiscated tusks, trinkets and jewelry worth around $8 million — and representing more than 100 elephants — were placed onto a conveyor belt and fed into a rock crusher to raise awareness for the global elephant crisis and the continued fight against the illegal ivory trade.
The event, hosted by the State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Tiffany and Co., took place nine days before the annual World Elephant Day on Aug. 12.
“The ivory crush, along with our vigilant enforcement efforts, takes us one step closer to ending this senseless slaughtering of animals,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “I urge other leaders across the nation and across the globe to join us in working to protect these magnificent threatened species for generations to come.”
Before Cuomo passed legislation banning the sale of illegal ivory in 2014, New York was the trade’s largest U.S. market. It has since dropped to third, according to new data from the wildlife-trade monitoring network Traffic, cited in Cuomo’s statement.
John Calvelli, executive vice president of public affairs for WCS and director of 96 Elephants, said today’s crushing event sent ivory poachers, traffickers and dealers the message that “we won’t stand for the slaughter of elephants. Nobody needs an ivory brooch that badly.”