Authorities in the United Arab Emirates have pulverized contraband elephant tusks and ivory carvings confiscated in the Gulf nation to send a message against poaching.

Workers used a construction digger to hoist more than 10 metric tons, or about 11 U.S. tons, of ivory into a rock crusher Wednesday at a landfill on the outskirts of Dubai.

Dubai is not a major destination for smuggled ivory, but it is a key crossroads for the trade because of extensive air and sea links to Africa, Asia, Europe and the Mideast. The commercial hub is home to the Middle East's biggest airline, largest seaport and busiest airport.

The seven-state federation, which also includes the oil-rich capital Abu Dhabi, is the first country in the Middle East to destroy its ivory stockpile.