Thursday, November 21, 2013
When is destroying something a good deed? When the object being destroyed is illegal and never should have been collected in the first place. That is the reason why the US Government crushed its stock pile of ivory recently as a symbolic protest against poaching and slaughter of elephants by criminal syndicates. While it is sad to see valuable material ground to dust, it is also testimony against murderous thieves who are decimating herds in Africa. The destruction won't stop poachers, however. It is a game of hunter and hunted. The symbolic crushing was meant more for western eyes than for the Third World where the killing takes place. Perhaps it would have been better had the act taken place in Africa in full view of hunters and others who might be tempted to follow a path to easy money. However, that wouldn't hurt the demand for ivory because it is still being used in Asia for intricate decorative carving. The problem is far larger than the US and African nations can tackle alone. It needs a multinational PR and community relations program that raises awareness of elephants and their value to the ecosystem.