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$10M worth of smuggled elephant tusks destroyed

Erik De Castro / Reuters

A road roller crushes smuggled elephant tusks, that had been confiscated, at the Parks and Wildlife center in Quezon City, Metro Manila on June 21, 2013. The Philippine government destroyed on Friday at least five tons of smuggled elephant tusks, making the Philippines the first country in Asia to conduct physical destruction of massive ivory stockpiles in support of government efforts to stamp out illegal wildlife trade, a statement from Department of Environment and Natural Resources said.

By DJ Yap, Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Environment officials on Friday led the crushing of some five tons of smuggled elephant tusks worth an estimated $10 million in a symbolic move to show the seriousness of the Philippine campaign to stop the “blood ivory” trade.

“This is the first country outside of Africa to destroy its contraband ivory. Nobody else has said we’re destroying our stuff. This is the Philippines saying ‘this is not money.’ ‘This is a crime, and we will not profit from the blood of elephants,’” said Bryan Christy, a lawyer and journalist who exposed the Philippines’ role as a consumer of religious icons and figurines made of ivory.

Ted Aljibe / AFP - Getty Images

Personnel of the wildlife bureau carries elephant tusks for destroying at a ceremony in Manila on June 21, 2013.

Ivory can fetch from $1,000 to $2,000 per kilogram on the black market and more than $50,000 for an entire tusk, according to reports.  Continue reading

Dennis M. Sabangan / EPA

A backhoe loader destroys elephant tusks that have been seized from illegal shipments since 2009 and are kept in storage at the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau-Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Quezon City, east of Manila, Philippines, June 21, 2013.

Officials in the Philippines destroyed five tons of ivory tusks seized from smugglers to discourage illegal ivory trade in the country. NBCNews.com's Dara Brown reports.

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