New York City Store Caught Selling Millions Of Dollars Worth Of Ivory

An elephant is killed every 15 minutes so people like this can get rich.

The largest ivory bust in New York state's history just went down in the middle of Manhattan, at a store on 57th Street.

An antique store called Metropolitan Fine Arts & Antiques was discovered trying to sell $4.5 million worth of ivory products. The store's owners have been charged with illegal commercialization of wildlife, a felony.

"The conduct alleged in this case is abhorrent," said New York District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr., in a statement. "As the international elephant population hovers near extinction, too many ivory traders continue to profit from the slaughter of these beautiful, defenseless animals."

It's believed the shop has been selling ivory since at least 2007, according to a release from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which aided in the investigation.

From 2007 to 2014, at least 144,000 African elephants have been killed (about 30 percent of the population in just seven years).

The Dodo

A search of the store discovered approximately 126 elephant ivory articles, including four uncarved elephant tusks from two young African elephants.

The items are expected to be destroyed as part of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Ivory Crush on World Elephant Day in August 2017.

"My office and our DEC partners will do everything we can locally to protect this endangered species and end this moral, ecological and geopolitical crisis," Vance said. "In Manhattan, that means advocating for tougher laws, and aggressively prosecuting those who violate them."

Learn how you can help shut down the ivory market here.