Massive Pile of Elephant Ivory Burned in Gabon—A First
Burn comes amid "shocking" spike in African elephant poaching.
The government-held stockpile represents roughly 850 elephants that must have been killed for their ivory, which is increasingly in demand in Asia for artistic pieces. (Related: "Elephant Pictures: Killed Female Highlights Poaching Rise.")
The cache—which included more than 1,200 tusks and 17,000 pieces of carved ivory confiscated since 1985—is valued at a million euros, according to the nonprofits WWF and TRAFFIC, which have worked with Gabon to audit its ivory stocks.
Gabon's president Ali Bongo ignited the ivory pyre in the capital city of Libreville, making Gabon the first central African country to publicly burn its ivory. (Read "Ivory Wars" in National Geographic magazine.)
The event took place "on a hill, looking over Libreville—it was a beautiful scene, a