Giant Ivory Stockpile to Go Up in Flames

Tusks of 11K elephants will be destroyed in Hong Kong
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2014 2:44 AM CST
Hong Kong to Torch Giant Ivory Stockpile
A photographer takes pictures of illegal ivory after a press conference in Hong Kong earlier this year.   (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Hong Kong plans to burn the tusks of an estimated 11,000 elephants in the world's biggest burning of an ivory stockpile. The territory's government says the 28-ton stockpile of contraband ivory is a "management burden" and a "security risk," reports CNN. Hong Kong had earlier been unwilling to burn the stockpile, deeming the move wasteful and polluting, but it came under renewed pressure after smaller stockpiles were destroyed in China and the US, where six tons of ivory were destroyed with a rock crusher.

One ton of ivory will be kept for educational purposes. Anti-poaching groups say Hong Kong destroying its stockpile will make a huge statement not just because of the quantity, but because of the city's long history in the ivory trade. "Hong Kong, as a major destination and transit hub for trafficked ivory, will soon join that growing list of leaders that are placing a higher value on a living elephant than pieces of a dead one," the chief of the African Wildlife Foundation nonprofit tells National Geographic. (More ivory stories.)

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