The Obama administration is set to pulverize 6 tons of ivory with a rock crusher in a bid to send a worldwide message that the U.S. does not accept poaching.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will crush the ivory – which includes raw and carved tusks, ornaments and jewelry seized over the past 25 years -- on Nov. 14 at the national wildlife repository in Denver, according to TIME.
“We are taking an important step next week, Daniel Ashe, the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said Tuesday. “We’re doing that in the hopes of raising the profile of this issue and also to try to inspire other nations around the world to deal with their stockpiles.”
The ivory crushing will be America’s first, but it only represents a fraction of the ivory that is available on the global market, TIME reports.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wildlife Fauna and Flora said in 2011 illegal trade of ivory was at its highest level in two decades, fueled by demand from areas like East Asia and the involvement of criminal groups. Ivory trade generates an annual revenue of around $10 billion.
The African Conservation Act, passed by Congress in 1989, has largely banned imports and exports of ivory in the U.S., with shipments being seized at borders and ports.