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5 tons of ivory tusks destroyed in Philippines

4:43 AM, Jun 21, 2013   |    comments
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MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine government is destroying more than five tons of smuggled elephant tusks worth an estimated $10 million to show it is fighting the illegal ivory trade.

According to the government's wildlife bureau, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the anti-wildlife-trafficking Freeland Foundation, it is the biggest known destruction of elephant ivory outside Africa, where most smuggled tusks originate.

Workers were using a backhoe Friday to crush the tusks.

The stockpiles have been seized by Philippine authorities since 2009. The Southeast Asian nation has been used as a transit route between Africa and the rest of Asia, particularly China and Thailand, for smuggled ivory. Ivory can fetch up to $2,000 per kilogram ($910 per pound) on the black market and more than $50,000 for an entire tusk.

The Associated Press

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