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.