5 tons of confiscated elephant tusks to be destroyed
Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - June 12, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) said yesterday it would destroy five tons of confiscated elephant tusks as part of a global campaign to raise awareness against the illegal trade of so-called “blood ivory.”

The seized tusks represent a portion of the 13.1 tons of Tanzanian elephant tusks seized in 2005 and 2009 that are kept in a government vault, PAWB director Theresa Mundita Lim said.

“This action is meant to send a message that the Philippines is against the illegal trade of ivory and the merciless massacre of elephants,” Lim said.

She said the haul will be crushed using a road roller and burned in front of anti-ivory trade advocates on June 21 at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center in Quezon City.

The Philippines is working to shed its image as a major transport hub for illegal ivory.

Lim said the rest of the seized ivory will remain under lock and key and will be used as evidence against illegal traders or as educational materials.

She said they will reserve some of the ivory tusks for training of PAWB personnel.

“We are also planning to bring some of these items to the National Museum for display,” she added.

Lim said the 5,000 kilos of elephant tusks have long been under the care of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The Philippines is a signatory to the Geneva-based Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES), which bans the trade of ivory to combat drastic declines in the numbers of elephant populations in Africa.

It cited the Philippines as among nine countries considered as “priority concerns” because they were used as a smuggling hub for illegal ivory.

The other countries are China, Kenya, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Tanzania, Thailand, South Korea and Vietnam.

DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES ENDANGERED SPECIES OF FLORA AND FAUNA HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL TRADE IVORY NATIONAL MUSEUM NINOY AQUINO PARKS AND WILDLIFE CENTER PROTECTED AREAS AND WILDLIFE BUREAU QUEZON CITY SOUTH KOREA AND VIETNAM
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