Ivory Destruction In Manila.
Today I was at a Philippines government event to destroy five tonnes of confiscated ivory.
People here are calling it the 'Big Crush'.
They used an excavator to crush the elephant tusks.
And a steam roller too.
Bits large and small were flying around all over the place, and I seriously almost got hit in the head by a flying tusk!
No one was wearing safety equipment. No hard hats or goggles in sight.
The five tonnes of ivory was taken from the confiscated ivory that had been smuggled into the Philippines from Uganda, Zambia and Tanzania.
The Philippines is a large ivory-consuming country in its own right, as well as a major smuggling transit point for ivory on its way to China.
Under the terms of the United Nations C.I.T.E.S. (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) agreement, the ivory has to be 'put beyond use' if it is not to be kept in storage or used for conservation or education purposes.
It was certainly 'put beyond use' today.
The initiative was organised by the 'Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau' (PAWB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of the Philippines government.
I just wish the Hong Kong government would do the right thing by the elephants, and follow the Philippines example in burning their ivory stockpile.
No one knows for sure, (and that's part of the problem), but some estimates point to them sitting on 20+ tonnes - all which I belive must be burnt too.
ALEX HOFFORD : PHILIPPINES ELEPHANT IVORY CONSERVATION PHOTOGRAPHER