A growing stash of more than 6 tons of ivory from slaughtered elephants, heaped in a warehouse near Denver, is about to be destroyed as part of a new U.S. push to combat illegal wildlife trafficking worldwide, reports the Denver Post. Publicly crushing the smuggled tusks and carvings will be the first act to end what has become a $10 billion illegal industry with security implications officials liken to those of illegal drug dealing. “Our experience is that the only way to end this trade is to get international support. That’s the goal of what we’re doing with this crush,” said Steve Oberholtzer, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special-agent-in-charge based in Denver, who is lining up rock-grinders to pulverize the ivory in October.
African governments already have destroyed some ivory seized from poachers, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said yesterday at a White House forum where the initiative was launched. President Obama on July 1 issued an order to combat the killing of protected wildlife, stop the trafficking, and reduce demand for illegal rhino horns and ivory. Members of a newly created advisory council sketched a broad approach of enlisting governments, companies and nonprofits worldwide.