Sri Lanka Takes Stand Against Illegal Ivory Trade


Officials in Sri Lanka destroyed what’s being described as the largest illegal ivory haul ever. 350 elephant tusks were displayed and then crushed in the nation’s capital. Experts say that these tusks came from African elephants, with Sri Lanka acting as a way station between Kenya and Dubai in the Middle East.


Sri Lankan officials say that there is no value in “blood ivory”—the term used to describe illegal ivory obtained by killing elephants. At the time the tusks were destroyed, a moment of silence was observed and funeral rites were conducted for the elephants.


This huge shipment of ivory was found at a port in Sri Lanka in a container labeled as plastic waste, an attempt to fool customs officials on the way to its final destination. Elephant ivory is valued in Asia and the Middle East for use in ornaments and medicines.


Sri Lanka has an elephant population of around 7,000, but they are not killed for their tusks. The main threat to Sri Lankan elephants is that they are sometimes killed by villagers when they wander onto farms and eat crops.


To learn more about this story, check out this article in The Guardian.


Photo credits: Top: IMG_9318 by Vikalpa/Groundviews/Maatram/CPA on Flickr; 3rd from top: Carved Ivory (MA) by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region on Flickr.




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