Target: J.P. Paje, Department of Natural Resources and Environment Secretary
Goal: Support the Phillipines’ bold efforts to end illegal ivory trade
In a very public declaration of its position on the rampant illegal ivory trade, the Philippines became the first non-African country where ivory is heavily trafficked to destroy its seized ivory stock. Using a backhoe and roller to cut through the tough ivory, government workers crushed over five tons of trafficked elephant tusks and sent the remaining pieces to be cremated.
By publicly destroying this $10 million stock, the country sent an austere message to poachers and smugglers while eliminating the risk of the ivory being stolen and sold on the black market. This bold action demonstrated their opposition not only to the trade itself but also of prevalent corruption as public officials have seized ivory from the confiscated stock to sell for personal gain.
As a major transit point for the ivory trade, the Philippines also has a market for the ivory, which is often used in the religious carving industry. According to NPR, “strong demand for ivory takes an estimated 25,000 elephant lives each year.” Bonaventure Ebayi—chair of an Africa-based regional law enforcement network applauded the event as a “a model to be replicated around the world.”
This type of demonstration has been instrumental in the fight against ivory trafficking, as a mass ivory burning in Kenya in 1989 led to the passage of a global ivory ban. This action also reaffirmed the country’s commitment to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and drew attention to continued poaching in African countries. The U.S. Agency for International Development and anti-wildlife-trafficking Freeland Foundation also contributed to this movement by analyzing DNA in the tusks to trace the origin and transit points of trafficking schemes.
Sign below to express your gratitude and support for the Philippines’ efforts to end ivory trafficking.
Dear Mr. Paje,
We thank you for your endeavor to crack down on illegal ivory trafficking in the Philippines and beyond. By destroying five tons of seized ivory in a very public display, the Philippines has demonstrated its commitment to ending this harmful practice that threatens endangered elephant populations. It also prevents government officials from stealing from this confiscated ivory stock and sends a powerful message to poachers all over the world.
By acknowledging the severity of this threat, the Philippines has made significant strides and set a precedent for other countries to follow to put an end to the illegal ivory trade.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Nation Multi Media