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In Photos: US Destroys Its Elephant Ivory

Historic Ivory Crush

(Image credit: USFWS Mountain Prairie)

On Nov. 14, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) destroyed its stockpile of seized ivory.

Strong Message

(Image credit: USFWS Mountain Prairie)

Destroying the ivory goods rather than selling them is meant to send a message that ivory is no longer a legitimate product to be traded or used in art. It's estimated that each year, poachers kill 30,000 elephants for their ivory tusks.

First Crush

(Image credit: USFWS Mountain Prairie)

The crush marked the first time the United States destroyed its government-held ivory stores. The event took place at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Commerce City, Colo., just outside of Denver.

Crusher

(Image credit: USFWS Mountain Prairie)

The crusher used to pulverize the 6-ton ivory stockpile.

Doomed Goods

(Image credit: USFWS Mountain Prairie)

Ivory carvings awaiting destruction on the morning of Nov. 14, 2013.

Ivory Jewelry

(Image credit: USFWS Mountain Prairie)

A huge container of ivory jewelry is hauled out to the crushing site.

25 Years' Worth of Ivory

(Image credit: USFWS Mountain Prairie)

The United States' government-held ivory stockpile was comprised of items that over the past 25 years had been seized during undercover investigations or confiscated at border crossings and other ports of entry.

Megan Gannon
Megan has been writing for Live Science and Space.com since 2012. Her interests range from archaeology to space exploration, and she has a bachelor's degree in English and art history from New York University. Megan spent two years as a reporter on the national desk at NewsCore. She has watched dinosaur auctions, witnessed rocket launches, licked ancient pottery sherds in Cyprus and flown in zero gravity. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.