Saying ‘No’ to Ivory: Philippines Destroys Over 5 Tons of Elephant Tusks

The Philippines is the first Asian nation to destroy its ivory stockpile. Photo by Gary M. Stolz / USFWS
The Philippines is the first Asian nation to destroy its seized ivory stockpile. Photo by Gary M. Stolz / USFWS

On Friday, 21 June 2013, the Philippines destroyed its $10 million stockpile of confiscated elephant tusks at a ceremonial event showing the country’s commitment to ending the blood ivory trade.

The Philippines was one of eight nations identified as “primary source, transit and import countries affected by illegal trade in ivory” at CITES CoP16 in Bangkok, along with China, Kenya, Malaysia, Thailand, Uganda, Tanzania and Vietnam.

Speaking at the ceremony, Philippine Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Ramon Paje said, “This act is a strong statement to the rest of the world that the Philippines is serious and will not tolerate illegal wildlife trade.”

The Philippines will not be a party to this massacre (of African elephants) and a conduit for the cycle of killing.

Bernama reports that the tusks were seized in 1996 – 2009, and came from Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Uganda.

Mary Rice, Executive Director of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), attended the historical event in Manila.

This is a really significant event. It is the first time a consuming country and an Asian country has decided to dispose of its seized stockpiles.

She added that “thousands of kilograms of seized ivory were sitting in storehouses in other cities around Asia and other parts of the world”.

The tusks were crushed with a backhoe and the fragments will be burned at an animal crematorium, according to the Bangkok Post.

FREELAND Foundation has posted a photo album of the event on their Facebook page.

In June 2012, Gabon burned an ivory stockpile of more than five tons.



Rhishja Cota-Larson

I am the founder of Annamiticus, and I work as an independent Wildlife Trade and Communication Design Consultant. I have journeyed to the streets of Hanoi to research the illegal wildlife trade, and to the rainforests of Sumatra and Java to document the world’s rarest rhinos. I am a Co-Chair of the SSN Pangolin Working Group. At CITES meetings, I collaborate with colleagues from around the world to lobby in favor of protecting endangered species. I am a Wildlife Trade and Trafficking Consultant for the upcoming documentary The Price, the host of Behind the Schemes and author of the book Murder, Myths & Medicine. I enjoy desert gardening, herping, reading, designing, and walking with my dogs.