The U.S. based Elephant Action League launched a campaign to destroy the ivory stockpile in Italy (for the Italian version click here)
Rome, 8 January 2014 – The Elephant Action League (EAL) has launched the campaign ITALIA CRUSH IVORY and is asking the Italian government to officially disclose the quantity of its ivory stockpile, currently kept by the Italian Forestry Corps, and destroy it during a public ceremony. EAL encourages other European countries to do the same.
Italy, as many other countries in Europe and around the world, over the years has accumulated illegal ivory seized from individuals trying to smuggle it into the country or via its ports and airports to Asia. Italian authorities have been seizing ivory also on sale in Italian shops. The most recent and important case was in October 2012, when the Italian Forestry Corps seized religious artifacts worth 150,000 euro in one of the most famous galleries close to Vatican City. In November 2012 the Forest Service had made another seizure of religious materials ivory in the Abruzzo region and Rome.
On January 6th, 2014, China has destroyed 6.1 tons of confiscated ivory tusks and carvings, just months after the ivory crush in Denver, Unites States, on November 15th, 2013. These highly symbolic events followed the ivory crush in the Philippines (June 2013), Gabon (June 2012) and Kenya (July 2011).
“The destruction of illegal ivory stockpiles gives a strong message to ivory consumers, traffickers and governments that the only way to save the elephant from extinction is to ban ivory forever and to refuse to give any value to it” EAL’s executive director Mr Andrea Crosta, said. “It also acknowledges the fact that the illegal ivory, being the product of illicit and criminal activities, some times even linked to terrorist groups, must be destroyed, as we do for other illicit goods like narcotics. In case of the ivory, behind its trade there is also an important and widespread human toll, with hundreds of people dying every year trying to protect or kill an elephant, with orphans and widows left behind, and terrorist groups getting funds for their activities. It’s a moral obligation to destroy the seized ivory” Crosta said.
Over 35,000 elephants are killed every year in Africa for their ivory. In many countries elephants are now extinct or very endangered. Tens of tons of illegal ivory keep entering China every year and are laundered into the legal market. This is the single most important factor behind the current elephant poaching crisis. The most crucial and urgent thing to do is to crack down on the illegal traffic inside China for good. The current monitoring system is a heaven for criminals, the mafia and illegal traders.
Elephant Action League (EAL) is a California based organization with the mission of fighting elephant exploitation and wildlife crime. EAL supports several anti-poaching and anti-trafficking projects in Eastern and Central Africa’s most important protected areas. Among others, in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania, EAL supports anti-poaching in collaboration with PAMS Foundation and Tanzania National Parks Authorities (TANAPA). In Gabon and Guinea EAL supports the anti-trafficking activities of the EAGLE Network.
The Elephant Action League, with its groundbreaking investigation on the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab, was the first to find concrete evidence on the link between terrorism and the ivory trade (https://elephantleague.org/project/africas-white-gold-of-jihad-al-shabaab-and-conflict-ivory), an important example of the Human Toll of the Ivory Trade.
Please follow @elephantleague and #ItaliaCrushIvory for updates.
The Italian version here
CONTACT: Mr Andrea Crosta, Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org)