World

Thailand destroys more than 2 tons of ivory, to show intent to crack down on illegal trade

  • Thai officials display seized ivory before the destruction in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. Thai authorities destroyed more than 2 tons of seized and smuggled ivory on Wednesday, the latest move by the government to avoid possible economic sanctions over its perceived failure to tackle the illicit trade. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

    Thai officials display seized ivory before the destruction in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. Thai authorities destroyed more than 2 tons of seized and smuggled ivory on Wednesday, the latest move by the government to avoid possible economic sanctions over its perceived failure to tackle the illicit trade. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Thai official holds seized elephant tusks to be displayed before its destruction in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015.  Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha  and a delegation of officials on Wednesday attended a ceremony to destroy two tons of confiscated ivory in Bangkok.  (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

    A Thai official holds seized elephant tusks to be displayed before its destruction in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and a delegation of officials on Wednesday attended a ceremony to destroy two tons of confiscated ivory in Bangkok. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)  (The Associated Press)

  • Thai officials pass along seized ivory tusks to crushing machine in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. Thai authorities destroyed more than 2 tons of seized and smuggled ivory on Wednesday, the latest move by the government to avoid possible economic sanctions over its perceived failure to tackle the illicit trade.(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

    Thai officials pass along seized ivory tusks to crushing machine in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. Thai authorities destroyed more than 2 tons of seized and smuggled ivory on Wednesday, the latest move by the government to avoid possible economic sanctions over its perceived failure to tackle the illicit trade.(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)  (The Associated Press)

Thai authorities have destroyed more than 2 tons of seized and smuggled ivory in the latest move by the government to avoid possible economic sanctions over a perceived failure to tackle the illicit trade.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha presided over Wednesday's event, loading the first tusk into the machine.

Authorities said the haul came from stockpiles of the Customs Department and the Department of National Parks and represented tusks from more than 200 dead African elephants.

Thailand is a major transit hub and destination for smuggled tusks, which are often carved into tourist trinkets and ornaments.

The U.N. body that tries to tackle the illegal trade in ivory, known as CITES, lists Thailand as the world's second-biggest end-user market behind China.