Oregon Zoo Destroys their Ivory To Protect Elephants

What do you do with 250 pounds of ivory, the product of dozens of dead elephants? The Oregon Zoo inherited their ivory collection from the Los Angeles Zoo in 1988 after that zoo decided it didn't have room to store the contraband. In the years in between, opinions on what to do with the ivory varied. Some wanted to display it to honor the elephants and reflect history. Others felt that this only made the ivory more desirable and thus increased its value on the black market.

This year, the Zoo decided to act. It packed up the items and shipped them to New York's Times Square where the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was holding an "Ivory Crush" to destroy the ivory and educate the public on the dangers of loving the art objects made from it.

"By crushing the ivory, we are rendering it valueless and sending a clear message that the United States will not tolerate wildlife trafficking." said David Shepherdson, deputy conservation manager, at the US Fish and Wildlife service.  "We believe that bringing an end to the ivory trade in the U.S will help stop the illegal killing of elephants, and one way to do that is to raise awareness among consumers that buying ivory costs elephants' lives."



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