More Than One Ton of Ivory Is About to Be Crushed in NYC’s Central Park

Elephant advocates are gearing up for an event that will destroy more than one ton of illegal ivory in Central Park that’s intended to send a message that the illegal wildlife trade threatening elephants won’t be tolerated.

While the sale of new ivory has been banned across the country for years, conservationists believe the market for pre-ban ivory has offered a cover for illegal sales and that the laws and punishments were too weak to be deterrents.

In 2014, New York took a big stand against the trade when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Fitzpatrick’s Law  in honor Lt. John Fitzpatrick, who was an Environmental Conservation Officer for the Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) who fought to protect elephants from the trade. The law that makes it illegal to sell elephant and mammoth ivory or rhino horns within the state, with limited exceptions, and increased the penalties significantly for both buyers and sellers.

Now, New York is taking another symbolic stand against the trade by publicly crushing more than one ton of ivory that has been confiscated by the NYDEC over the last two years at an event in Central Park.

NYSDEC_Ivory22Credit: NYDEC

The event, which is being organized by the NYDEC and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), along with the support of Tiffany & Co., and a coalition of conservation and wildlife advocacy organizations from around the world, is intended to send a message that that wildlife crimes threatening Africa’s elephants won’t be tolerated.

According to WCS, over 650 pieces of ivory with an estimated value of over $6 million were seized by individuals and companies selling in the state. Those items, including ivory tusks, trinkets, statues, jewelry and other decorative pieces, will soon be placed into an enormous rock crusher and destroyed while the public watches.

NYSDEC_Ivory19Credit: NYDEC

“The battle against elephant poaching is far from over, but New York is showing the world that it is serious about stopping the killing, stopping the trafficking, and stopping the demand,” said John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Director of the 96 Elephants Campaign. “We encourage all New Yorkers to attend this dramatic event and see first-hand the ravages of poaching, and what is being done to stop it.”

seized ivory, illegal ivory, NYSDEC, confiscated, evidence,  NYS DEC, DLE, BECICredit: NYDEC

While international efforts are underway to shut down ivory markets, controversy has continued to surround questions about whether to legalize the trade and what to do with stockpiles of ivory.

Fortunately, many nations around the world have destroyed stockpiles in response to the crisis threatening elephants. According to WCS, 22 countries and territories around the world have destroyed more than 270 metric tons of confiscated ivory since Kenya became the first to destroy it in 1989.

While destroying stockpiles of ivory won’t stop poaching overnight, events like this one send a message that ivory has no value, other than what it’s worth to an elephant. It isn’t a symbol of wealth or status, but one of selfishness, heartbreaking losses of human and animal lives and corruption that no one should ever want.

NYSDEC_Ivory17Credit: NYDEC

Hopefully this event will help raise awareness about the plight of elephants and the need to end the trade in ivory. As hundreds of thousands continue to die every year for their tusks, conservationists fear that the current rate of killing will erase these iconic animals  from the landscape forever in the near future if drastic action isn’t taken.

Attend the Event

For anyone who can make it, this ivory crush is scheduled to take place on Thursday, August 3, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. in Central Park. WCS is also offering anyone interested the opportunity to personally take part in the destruction. For more on how to participate, check here.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

87 comments

Margie F
Margie F2 months ago

And the poor elephants who were killed for this.

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heather g
heather g2 months ago

Pity the poor elephants who are still killed in their hundreds and also the reserve patrol men who also lose their lives in an effort to capture the poachers.

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Denise D
Denise D2 months ago

Thanks for sharing!

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Michele B
Michele B2 months ago

baby steps. A long time coming

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Carl R
Carl R2 months ago

Thanks!!!

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earthism info
earthism info2 months ago

good decision

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Callie R
Callie R2 months ago

Every bit of ivory that is destroyed just increases the value...can't stop poaching like this.

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Carl R
Carl R2 months ago

Thanks!!!!

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natasha s
Past Member 2 months ago

Unfortunately this display won't bring any of the majestic elephants back. Still don't see much improvement in the poaching crisis either. Poachers must be shot dead or sentenced to life in prison.

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Marija M
Marija M2 months ago

Ruth C. said it all. Thank you Ruth.

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