There's something dramatic and unsettling about seeing a photograph of more than six tons of elephant ivory set ablaze or otherwise destroyed: a stark reminder of the carnage of elephant poaching and the conservation crisis created by international trade in elephant ivory.
But, each time a government destroys its ivory stockpile, as Ethiopia has now done this week, it sends a message to the world that ivory trade will not be tolerated - and that any chance of elephant ivory finding its way into illicit trade should be permanently removed.
Born Free staff has witnessed the destruction of ivory in the US, Kenya, France, and now Ethiopia. I have personally witnessed the crushing of ton after ton of ivory in Denver, Colorado. And, I know that, if all governments were to destroy their ivory stockpiles, crack down on elephant poachers, and accept a uniform, unequivocal, global ban on elephant ivory trade, elephants in Africa and Asia would have their long-term viability secured.
Born Free's recently-appointed Country Representative in Ethiopia, Zelealem Tefera, witnessed the ivory burn in person and called it "a landmark and vital step forward for wildlife conservation in Ethiopia." Zelealem hopes that this action will increase the momentum and raise the urgency of wildlife conservation in the country.