Elephants killed illegally in China inspire protest

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

ivory tusks China
Just imagine all the elephants that had to die for this.

In China, possessing carved elephant tusks demonstrates status and power in society. Many elephants are illegally killed to provide citizens with ivory, but in a symbolic move earlier this month, China destroyed around 6 tons of illegally obtained elephant tusks.

Just 4 and a half pounds of the elephant parts can fetch upwards of $2,000 on the black market. No doubt poachers are eager to sell to China’s middle class, which has been growing rapidly in the world’s second largest economy. However, the government wanted to show the world they don’t support the outlawed practice.

Chinese authorities created a large stockpile of illegal ivory for reporters, diplomats, and conservationists to see before feeding them into a crusher.

According to the International Fund for Animal Welfare, this move shows the Chinese government is “concerned about the toll ivory trafficking is taking on elephant populations, as well as the other threats to regional security that arise in connection with wildlife crime.”

This was just a portion of the ivory in the country, but Chinese officials didn’t say how much more was left in their stock. Other countries have followed suit, including the Philippines, the US, and Gabon.

Images courtesy of International Fund for Animal Welfare Animal Rescue Blog.