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Belgium crushes openly 1.5 tons illegal ivory

Xinhua, April 10, 2014 Adjust font size:

The Belgian government, in conjunction with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), openly destroyed its stockpile of seized ivory weighing more than 1.5 tons on Wednesday, a journalist of Xinhua witnessed on the spot.

By taking this action, "Belgium joins in the movement initiated by our Chinese, American and French colleagues who have all recently completed the destruction of illegal ivory stocks," Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Laurette Onkelinx said while presenting the destruction event on the outskirts of Brussels.

The action sent a strong signal to those poachers that the illegal action of hunting elephant must be eradicated and the ivory trade is doomed to failure, especially because the seized stocks will never be regularized or put back in the trade, said Onkelinx.

"Belgium does not tolerate the trafficking of ivory or its consequences on elephant populations," the vice PM added.

By destroying this illegal ivory, Belgium shows its determination to take any means necessary to prosecute those who enrich themselves by killing these animals.

For his part, IFAW President Azzedine Downes said the Belgian government should be saluted for taking a firm and public stand on ivory trafficking and working to save the world's threatened elephants.

"The Belgian government is putting wildlife traffickers on notice that their pursuit of profit at the expense of the world's natural heritage and biodiversity will not be tolerated," he addressed.

Illegal ivory trade activity worldwide has more than doubled since 2007, and is now over three times larger than it was in 1998, Asian Regional Director of IFAW Grace Gabriel said in a interview with Xinhua.

Seizures of illegal ivory in the world continue to increase from 24.3 tons in 2011 to 30 tons in 2012 and 41.5 tons in 2013, she went on.

According to her, 25,000 to 50,000 elephants are killed each year, or 100 elephants killed per day, which means that every 15 minutes, an elephant is seen pulling its defenses. Endi

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