Ahead of London Summit on Wildlife Trafficking, France Destroys Ivory

Ahead of London Summit on Wildlife Trafficking, France Destroys Ivory

Nairobi, Kenya

Ivory destruction sets the stage for next week’s global summit in London, as heads of state from around the world will discuss ways to combat the illegal wildlife trade

NAIROBI—Today, at the foot of the iron-latticed Eiffel Tower, France fed 3 tons of confiscated ivory into a pulverizer, becoming the first European country to publicly condemn elephant poaching and ivory trafficking through such an action. This comes as the U.S. government plans to unveil its National Strategy for Combatting Wildlife Trafficking and as heads of state prepare to gather in London next week where they will discuss ways to eradicate the illegal wildlife trade and protect the planet’s most iconic species. The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) welcomed the news and urged all European countries to destroy their ivory stocks and consider an outright ban on domestic ivory trade.

“We are seeing a growing consensus that there is no place for ivory other than on an elephant,” said African Wildlife Foundation CEO Dr. Patrick Bergin, who is part of the eight-member Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking which made recommendations to the government’s national strategy. “When governments continue to store seized ivory, they reinforce the notion that ivory has a legitimate, commercial value and may someday be released into the marketplace. We must devalue and deflate all ivory futures by destroying it, and collapse the market altogether by banning domestic ivory trade.”  

France joins a number of other countries that have either destroyed or committed to destroying their ivory stockpiles. These include Kenya, Gabon, the Philippines, the United States, China, and the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong. The EU country is both a destination and transit area for trafficked ivory. In December 2013, during a routine inspection, French customs officials uncovered two whole elephant tusks and several smaller ivory chunks in the boot of a car near the city of Poitiers. The ivory seizure was one of the largest in a decade. 

“Almost no country can escape the impact of this criminal trade,” said Bergin, who will attend next week’s wildlife trafficking summit in London. “When we all condemn the illegal ivory trade with such public events, we send a clear signal to ivory consumers, traffickers, and speculators that ivory has no value and no future.”

# # #

Editor’s Note:

AWF CEO Dr. Patrick Bergin will attend the wildlife trafficking summit in the U.K. next week. Also in attendance will be WildAid and film action star, Jackie Chan, To schedule an interview, please contact Communications and Marketing Officer Kathleen Garrigan at kgarrigan@awf.org or +1 202 939 3326.

About African Wildlife Foundation

Founded in 1961, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) is a leading conservation organization focused solely on the African continent. AWF’s programs and conservation strategies are based on sound science and designed to protect both the wild lands and wildlife of Africa and ensure a more sustainable future for Africa’s people. Since its inception, AWF has protected endangered species and land, promoted conservation enterprises that benefit local African communities, and trained hundreds of African nationals in conservation—all to ensure the survival of Africa’s unparalleled wildlife heritage. AWF is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Kenya and registered as a 501(c)(3) in the United States. For more information, visit www.wz-yf.com and follow us on Twitter @AWF_Official or @awf_media and Facebook at facebook.com/AfricanWildlifeFoundation.