Some 2,000 illegally trafficked elephant tusks and hundreds of finished ivory products erupted in a ball of fire Tuesday as Cameroonian authorities conducted what was believed to be one of the largest burnings of poached wildlife goods in African history.

Setting the pyre aflame in Cameroon's capital, Samantha Power, America's U.N. ambassador, joined Cameroonian officials in hailing the ceremony as symbolic of their commitment to fight illegal smuggling of animal products.

The pyre will burn for three days.

In March, a U.S. task force said a "turning point" had been reached in the global endeavor to fight ivory smuggling.

Central Africa's forest elephants have declined in number by two-thirds between 2002 and 2012.