Thursday, June 27, 2013


Philippines Ivory Burn

Just last Friday, the largest non-African ivory burn took place in the heart of the Philippines. The city of Manila witnessed the destruction of more than 5 tons of ivory, valued at an estimated $10 million.

The ivory was crushed and burned. This huge amount of tusks were the conglomeration of smuggled ivory collected since 2009. The act of destruction represented the Filipino government's strict stand against the illegal ivory trade, and their commitment to fighting the smugglers.

The Huffington Post reported: "This not only sends a message to wildlife traffickers that the Philippine government is taking firm action against the illegal ivory trade, but also takes a stand against corruption by burning their ivory stockpile so it cannot be stolen then sold into the black market," said Steven Galster, director of Bangkok-based Freeland Foundation.

Ivory has a habit of disappearing from government held stockpiles all over the world, as corrupt officials are tempted to steal this somewhat absurdly valuable animal product. This was the case in 2006 when 3.7 tons, the largest single shipment of ivory, mysteriously vanished from the inventory, according to an international network that tracks the illegal trade.

The Philippines is a known transit point for the buying and selling of ivory, but also has an expansive carving industry which produces religious sculptures and artifacts. According to The Elephant Trade Information System, along with Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Malaysia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, China and Thailand -- the Philippines is identified as being one of the most heavily implicated countries or territories in the illegal trade. The Huffington Post Article can be found here.

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