France is crushing more than 3 tons of illegal ivory in Europe's first destruction of a stockpile of the banned elephant tusks.
Thursday's pulverization is intended to send a message to poachers and traffickers that preservationists hope will help stem the illicit trade that endangers the species' survival. Other countries to do the same recently include the United States, Gabon and China, ivory's biggest market.
The market price of ivory is more than $1,000 a pound ($2,200 per kilogram) and has more than doubled in the past five years, said Ginette Hemley, vice president of species conservation at the World Wildlife Fund. Henley acknowledged that simply destroying seized stocks will not be enough to tamp down demand, which she said has grown exponentially since 2009.