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Elephant tusks, ivory torched to keep out of smugglers' hands

James Morgan / AP

In this photograph released by WWF-Canon via AP Images, seized ivory ready for the burn in Libreville, Gabon, on Wednesday, June 27, 2012, in a ceremony to symbolize Gabon's commitment to ending poaching and other wildlife crimes. created an elite military unit whose mission is to secure Gabon's parks and to protect wildlife, especially against poaching and illegal trade of ivory and the confiscated ivory was a product of this crackdown.

Wils Yanick Maniengui / AFP - Getty Images

Five tons of ivory worth around 10 million euros ($14 million) burn on June 27, 2011 in Libreville to mark his government's commitment to battling poachers and saving elephants.

Miguel Llanos, msnbc.com reports:The Central African nation of Gabon on Wednesday burned all the elephant tusks and ivory ornaments it had in its stockpile -- an amount equivalent to 850 elephants -- so that smugglers, via corrupt government officials, won't get their hands on the black market commodities treasured in China and other parts of Asia.

"Gabon’s elephants are under siege because of an illegal international market," President Ali Bongo said. "I call on the international community to join us in this fight" by cracking down on smugglers and buyers. "If we do not reverse the tide, the African elephant is in serious trouble." Continue reading the full story.


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