NEW YORK (July 12, 2017) – New York State will destroy more than one ton of illegal elephant ivory in Central Park at a high-profile, public event on Thursday, August 3rd at 10:30 a.m.

The event is being organized by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC), with support from Tiffany & Co., a longstanding leader in sustainability and a member of the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance. 

Partnering organizations include some of the world’s most prominent wildlife conservation NGOs: African Wildlife Foundation, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, The Humane Society of the United States, International Fund for Animal Welfare, National Geographic, Natural Resources Defense Council, Save Animals Facing Extinction, United States Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, and WildAid. Special thanks to Emerald Equipment Systems for donating the crusher.

The ivory tusks, trinkets, statues, jewelry and other decorative items, confiscated through NYDEC and federal enforcement actions, will be placed into an enormous rock crusher and destroyed while supporters gather to watch. An estimated 96 elephants are killed each day in Africa due to ivory poaching. The event will send a clear message that the U.S. will not tolerate wildlife crime that threatens the extinction of Africa’s elephants. 


The ivory was seized from individuals and companies illegally selling it in New York. Over 650 ivory pieces were seized with an estimated value of over $6 million. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo introduced and signed a new law in 2014 that effectively banned the sale of elephant and mammoth ivory and rhinoceros horns, and strengthened the criminal and civil penalties for buyers and sellers whose actions are endangering elephant populations worldwide. The law allowed for limited exceptions on product, such as antiques demonstrated to be at least 100 years old and containing less than 20 percent of ivory. The adoption of these stricter sanctions was a major step in deterring the ivory trade in the U.S. and protecting this important species.

Statewide ivory bans have also been passed in California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington. A federal ivory ban was enacted last year. Since 1989, 22 countries and territories have destroyed more than 270 metric tons of confiscated ivory.

“The battle against elephant poaching is far from over, but New York is showing the world that it is serious about stopping the killing, stopping the trafficking, and stopping the demand,” said John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Director of the 96 Elephants Campaign. “We encourage all New Yorkers to attend this dramatic event and see first-hand the ravages of poaching, and what is being done to stop it.”

The event will be held between the Sheep Meadow and Naumburg Bandshell: WCS is offering a member of the public a chance to take a stand for wildlife and to place a piece of ivory into the crusher. Read more about the opportunity.