COLOMBO, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lankan authorities on Tuesday destroyed more than 359 African elephant tusks (blood ivory) worth more than 350 million Sri Lankan rupees, in the capital in a firm commitment to protect endangered wildlife species.
The ivory was seized in 2012 by the Sri Lanka Customs while it was en route to Dubai from Kenya. The total weight of the ivory was around 1,500 kg.
The ivory stock was publicly destroyed at the Galle Face Green in Colombo, with religious offerings to mark the unnecessary sacrifice of those elephants. Several government officials including Minister of Sustainable Development and Wildlife Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake and Secretary General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) John E. Scanlon were present to destroy the tusks.
The ivory was crushed using a modified crusher and was then transported to a cement factory in Puttalam in the North Western province, to be burned. The entire process took place amidst tight security.
Minister Perera said that the event would highlight to the world, and to everybody in Sri Lanka, that the government would not tolerate any illegal trade of ivory.
Sri Lanka has also given a firm pledge to protect silky sharks and has urged other countries to work together with the island nation on the proposal submitted and encourage sustainable trade for these species.
"With 100 million sharks killed each year, strong action is clearly needed to protect them wherever they are found, and the government of Sri Lanka is joining the global battle to save sharks and rays found at home in the Indian Ocean, and all around the world," the minister said.