Last year, the Philippines made history by becoming the first ivory-consuming nation to destroy their ivory stockpiles, crushing and cremating 5 tons of elephant tusks as a symbolic gesture against poaching and the illegal wildlife trade. But soon the ashes of those ill-gotten parts will give rise to a new symbol of hope.
Philippines chief environmental ministry recently announced plans to mix the remnants of its destroyed ivory with concrete to build a giant sculpture of a mother elephant protecting her calf -- a public monument to underscore the nation's commitment to fighting the ivory trade.
The 13-foot tall monument will be installed in the same park in Manila where the ivory was crushed last summer.
Prior to destroying their stockpile, the Philippines was considered a major hub for the trade of elephant tusks, named by Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species as one of the eight worst nations in failing to stop the ivory trade.
Environmental officials have since vowed to do more to stop traffickers, saying "the country is serious and will not tolerate illegal wildlife trade, and denounces the continuous killing of elephants for illicit ivory trade."
As many as 30,000 African elephants are killed each year for their tusks. If the trend continues unabated, conservationists warn that the species could go extinct in a little over a decade.