The country of Chad became the latest country to destroy its ivory stockpile today, with a 1.1 ton burn attended by the country's President Déby Itno, who also heralded in an initiative that will put $2 million to anti-poaching efforts. According to conservation group African Parks, the burn was a symbolic move meant to promote conservation of the country's elephant population, which has fallen from 50,000 individuals to 1,500 in the past 50 years.
The ivory burn on site at Goz Djarat, the town at the entrance to Zakouma National Park, the country's flagship national park, was witnessed by a delegation of Chadian cabinet ministers, the African Parks team that manages Zakouma, representatives from other NGOs and the media. The ivory burn formed part of Zakouma National Park's 50th anniversary event that also included the unveiling of a commemorative monument to the 23 guards slain on duty at Zakouma since 1998.
As we noted when the burn was announced, this isn't the first time Chad -- and other countries -- have sent a message against poaching in the form of a large-scale ivory destruction.