Dubai: The UAE destroyed its stockpile of more than 10 tonnes of seized ivory on Wednesday at Al Qusais Landfill, sending a strong message to the rest of the world that the UAE will not tolerate wildlife trafficking.
The UAE became the first country in the Middle East to publicly crush confiscated raw and carved ivory. Over the past 24 months, countries such as the US, China, France, Belgium, among others, have crushed ivories confiscated in their ports of entry.
"The destruction of the ivory stockpiles in the state is in compliance with the values of the UAE and multi-lateral international conventions...and the commitment to actively contribute to international efforts to conserve biodiversity and protect endangered species," said Dr Rashid Ahmad Bin Fad, Minister of Environment and Water.
The International Fund for Animal (IFAE) Welfare expressed strong support to the UAE's move as they believe it is a powerful symbol that raw and worked ivory pieces have no value and are driving to the current slaughter of elephants.
"IFAW strongly encourages governments to destroy all their stocks of ivory. Each year, between 25,000 and 50,000 elephants are killed for ivory, which means one elephant is killed every 15 minutes," said Dr Elsayed Mohammad, Regional Director of IFAW Middle East and North Africa.
There is no market for ivory in the UAE, Dr Mohammad said. But the UAE is an important link in the movement of international trade as it is a transit point between Africa, where the ivory is sourced, and East Asia, the country of destination.