France destroys illegal ivory



Posted on 06 February 2014  | 
France today destroyed three tonnes of seized ivory, two months since the announcement of its national action plan against poaching and illegal wildlife trade.

The announcement came at the closure of the Elysee Summit for peace and security in Africa, where the President of France, Francois Hollande and nine African Heads of State gathered to discuss the serious implications of illegal wildlife trade for stability, peace, and development.

The move follows similar destructions of seized ivory by Gabon, the US, the Philippines and China all in the space of two years.

WWF congratulates France for this symbolic move, and urges governments globally to take the action that is needed to stem the illegal trade in ivory and other wildlife products.

Illegal wildlife trade, a $19 billion transnational crime, continues to grow, over a thousand rhinos were killed last year in South Africa alone, while Tanzania lost two thirds of its elephant population in the Selous ecosystem in the last four years.

Political momentum to tackle illegal illegal wildlife trade on a global level is growing and on February 12th, a two day conference on the issue takes place in London.

The London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade expects Heads of Government and Foreign Ministers from around 50 countries, including those at the centres of the current rhino, tiger and elephant poaching crises to attend.

The high level summit will be convened by the UK Government under Prime Minister David Cameron and attended by Prince Charles and Prince William.

WWF and TRAFFIC, a joint programme of WWF and IUCN, have been providing expert input into the preparatory process for the conference and reception.

WWF and TRAFFIC believe that best practice and transparency in the destruction of ivory stockpiles should transpire include a robust ivory stock management system.

Rigorous documentation of all ivory stocks should be maintained and a detailed stock inventory of the ivory to be destroyed should be produced.

Independent audits ensure that the quantity slated for destruction actually corresponds to the amount that is destroyed, providing assurances that ivory does not find its way back into illegal markets, further feeding illegal trade.
Destruction of three tonnes of ivory seized at customs by France
© WWF-France / Denis Guignebourg Enlarge
Closeup of an ivory carving from the stock of three tonnes destroyed today.
© WWF-France / Denis Guignebourg Enlarge
The remains of the ivory following the crushing
© WWF-France / Denis Guignebourg Enlarge

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