A year ago, I proudly attended the U.S. ivory crush in Colorado: a coordinated demolition of nearly six tons of seized elephant ivory, symbolizing the U.S.'s intolerance for elephant poaching and sending a message to the world that ivory should be permanently removed from any possible commercial use. The ivory crush was an emotional event, evoking sadness for the massacred elephants; frustration with the continuing scourge of violent poaching; and encouragement that our nation is taking concerted action and leadership.
There was much debate surrounding the ivory "crush": a debate that was echoed in similar destructions in Africa and Asia and Europe, as some felt that the ivory should not be destroyed. They argued that it was pointless; that it was already confiscated; and, in some arenas, that seized, stockpiled ivory should be sold to generate revenue for wildlife conservation efforts.
Today, only one year later, I read a report indicating that over a ton of seized elephant ivory-worth approximately 1.1 million U.S. dollars-has just been stolen from a 'secure' government armory in Uganda. Corrupt officials are thought to be the culprits, stealing the confiscated ivory from the Uganda Wildlife Authority and selling the tusks. An investigation is underway to determine the details.