Singapore – June 14, 2016 – The following statement was issued today by Cristian Samper, President and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society and a member of the US President’s Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking:

“The world is aligning behind crushing the ivory trade and Singapore officials have demonstrated their commitment to this global movement.

“At WCS, founder of the 96 Elephants campaign, we applaud the Singapore Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) for crushing and burning 7.9 tonnes of confiscated elephant ivory on June 13. This crush and burn of ivory by Singapore sends a strong message that Singapore will not tolerate smugglers using its ports as a pathway for illegal ivory.

“We hope that today’s actions by Singapore herald a commitment to zero tolerance for any and all illegal wildlife trade through its ports.

“WCS is committed to working with Singapore, other governments, international organizations, and NGO partners to stop the killing, stop the trafficking and stop the demand. As a global community, we must commit to protect elephants on-the-ground with better law enforcement actions, a commitment to zero tolerance for corruption, and stricter penalties for offenders.

“Singapore’s crush and burn event follows similar actions by more than 20 countries since 1989, and is a first for Singapore. Kenya recently held the world’s largest ivory destruction event, burning 105 metric tons. About 263 metric tons have been destroyed by all – ensuring that this ivory will never fuel the criminal syndicates wiping out our world’s elephant population.

“In September, at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii and at the CITES Conference of the Parties in South Africa, we call upon the global community to continue to unite behind proposed resolutions to close domestic ivory markets around the world and curtail ivory trafficking. All governments need to galvanize behind adoption and implementation of these critical resolutions, as well as work to protect elephants and their habitat on the ground.”