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WWF Statement on Ivory Destruction in Congo and United Arab Emirates

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued the following statement from Ginette Hemley, Senior Vice President of Wildlife Conservation, on today’s destruction of ivory in Congo and the United Arab Emirates:

"We are in the midst of a global poaching crisis, and Africa’s elephants are among the hardest-hit victims. Illegal ivory trade not only leads to the wholesale slaughter of wild elephants, it also risks the lives and livelihoods of local communities, facilitates the growth of corruption, and undermines national and regional security.

"The destruction of ivory stockpiles signals that governments, and the people they represent, will not tolerate wildlife crime and the horrors that come with it.

"However, it is important to reemphasize the need for a rigorous independent audit of any ivory that will be destroyed, in order to ensure that illegal ivory does not leak back into the black market. It is unclear whether such an audit preceded the ivory destructions happening today in Congo and the United Arab Emirates.

"When done right, and when stockpiles have been thoroughly audited, government destruction of ivory can go beyond the symbolic, and eliminate potential fuel for the rampant illegal ivory trade."