U.S. officials in Denver plan to pulverize more than six tons of ivory in order to fight illegal wildlife trafficking and save elephants.
The New York Times reports that the Fish and Wildlife Service has seized the ivory in order to publicly crack down on the illegal $10 billion industry. The confiscated items include carved tusks and other art objects, which will be crushed by rock grinders in October.
The seizure is part of a major push to combat the killing of protected wildlife, announced by President Obama on July 1. Officials said they will give $10 million to fight poaching in Africa, work with Asian countries to outlaw ivory trinkets, and more carefully monitor elephant populations.
The decision to destroy the confiscated ivory is controversial, and some question whether it will do anything to limit demand for ivory or make a dent in the worldwide black market. Authorities plan to use some of the ivory to make a memorial to slaughtered elephants.