France destroys over 500 kilos of ivory stocks

French environment police watch as workers use a grinder to destroy more than 500 kilograms of seized ivory products, including elephant tusks, in Antibes, France, on May 30, 2018.
French environment police watch as workers use a grinder to destroy more than 500 kilograms of seized ivory products, including elephant tusks, in Antibes, France, on May 30, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

MARSEILLE (AFP) - Authorities in the southern French city of Nice on Wednesday (May 30) destroyed more than 500 kilograms of ivory as part of the international campaign to end elephant poaching, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) announced.

Most of the so-called "white gold", which comes from elephant tusks, was seized by the authorities during auctions or online sales, but 100 of the 563 kilograms crushed came from members of the public responding to IFAW's "ivory surrender" campaign.

France banned all sales of elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn in 2016.

"France is sending a strong signal to the world about combatting the illegal trade in endangered species," said Francoise Taheri, a senior official for the southern Alpes-Maritime region where Nice is situated.

The operation was the third of its kind in France in four years and brings the total amount of ivory destroyed to over a metric tonne.

The ivory trade has been banned worldwide since 1989 but the ban does not cover sales of ivory obtained before then.