MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is destroying more than five tons of smuggled elephant tusks worth an estimated $10 million to show it is fighting the illegal ivory trade.
According to the government's wildlife bureau, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the anti-wildlife-trafficking Freeland Foundation, it is the biggest known destruction of elephant ivory outside Africa, where most smuggled tusks originate.
Workers were using a backhoe Friday to crush the tusks.
The stockpiles have been seized by Philippine authorities since 2009. The Southeast Asian nation has been used as a transit route between Africa and the rest of Asia, particularly China and Thailand, for smuggled ivory. Ivory can fetch up to $2,000 per kilogram ($910 per pound) on the black market and more than $50,000 for an entire tusk.