US officials have seized six tons of ivory over the past quarter-century, and this month, they plan to destroy it. The destruction in Denver—by rock-crusher—will be the first of its kind in this country, with the White House hoping to underscore that it won't tolerate poaching, Time reports. Ivory imports and exports were effectively banned in 1989, but the product still brings in $10 billion in yearly illegal revenue—more than cocaine or gold.
The black market trade hit a 20-year peak just two years ago, with help from organized crime. "With rising affluence throughout the world there’s an increasing demand for wildlife products," says the director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Demand is particularly high in East Asia. But service officials hope to demonstrate on Nov. 14 that "there shouldn’t be a value on ivory," says one. This summer, the Philippines destroyed its own stockpile, and Kenya burned its ivory in 2011, Time notes.