Chad, a country that has seen its elephant population dwindle from 50,000 to 1,500 in the last half-century, has announced that it will join several other countries who have been destroying their ivory stockpiles of late. According to conservation group African Parks, the nation announced plans to burn the ivory on February 21 as part of the Zakouma National Parl's 50th anniversary celebration.
Next week President Déby Itno will lead his cabinet to Zakouma National Park for the burning of over 1.2 tons of ivory that have been stockpiled in Chad over the past five years. The ivory burn signifies Chad's firm commitment to combatting the elephant poaching that has decimated the region's once thriving elephant population.
Chad had previously destroyed its stockpile in 2006, but has accumulated more confiscated ivory since then. The country follows in the wake of several others -- China and the U.S. each crushed a six-ton pile in the past few months, while the Philippines destroyed five tons last June. Last month, Hong Kong announced a plan to incinerate 28 tons over the next two years. And just a week ago, France became the first European country to destroy its stockpile, when it pulverized nearly 3 tons of ivory (a portion of its total) in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.
ACTION GUIDE: Ivory
The ivory trade is the biggest driver of elephant poaching in the world, despite a global CITES ban on the sale of ivory since 1990. In 2012 alone, 22,000 African elephants were killed, often to supply a major consumer demand in Asia, especially in China. To avoid products that could help fuel the ivory trade, check out this guide by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In the Unites States, there is also concern that "vintage" ivory (not from recent poaching) contributes to the ivory demand, and therefore poaching (see The Nature Conservancy for information about how most antique "legal" ivory is in fact not). To beome active in this issue, you can become in campaigns by World Wildlife Fund, International Fund for Animal Welfare, International Conservation Caucus Foundation.)