Times Square ivory crush in photos
- The US Fish and Wildlife Service put one ton of items made from ivory on display before crushing them to bits.
- The event was held in Times Square. New York City has long been tied to the ivory market, and the United States is the second largest ivory market next to China.
- Much of the ivory that was crushed was confiscated in Philadelphia from the store of Victor Gordon back in 2014. Gordon was an art and antiques dealer who was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $157,500 in fines and forfeitures for smuggling African elephant ivory into the US.
- Other items were seized in New York City, which has long been a hub for the ivory trade.
- The first piece to go into the crusher was an in-tact tusk with ornate carvings.
- Representatives of the government agencies and wildlife organizations placed objects made of ivory one by one on a conveyor belt that ran up to the mouth of the rock crusher.
- Sally Jewell, the United States' Secretary of the Interior, spoke to the crowd before the ivory was crushed.
- A few hundred people attended the event, and the crush drew plenty of on-lookers to the northernmost section of Times Square.
- The USFWS had other illegal trade items on display as well. "It's not just ivory," said Dan Ash, director of the USFWS. He urged the crowd to "stop the senseless deaths" of other animals.
- A handful of celebrities were at the event, like Edie Falco.
- The reason for hosting the event in Times Square was to draw attention, and it did plenty of that. Even this tour bus guide joined in while stopped at a red light. He yelled: "Stop animal poaching!"
- The Trakpactor 260 is a 25-ton rock crusher typically used for recycling and demolition. Today, it chewed up ivory.
- The "96 Elephants" movement was started by the Wildlife Conservation Society. The name is a reference to the fact that an average of 96 elephants are killed each day in Africa. Many supporters attended the event, and their efforts were called out by most of the speakers.
- Representatives from the Wildlife Conservation Society, the African Wildlife Foundation, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Humane Society of the United States, the World Wildlife Fund, and even the New York State Environmental Conservation police were all on hand.
- Celebrities, press, and guests were all invited. Several hundred people watched the machine pulverize the confiscated ivory.
- Ivory is used to make things like ornate decorations, combs, jewelry, and even billiard balls.