More than $8 million worth of illegal elephant ivory crushed in Central Park

- More than $8 million worth of ivory has been smashed to bits in Central Park.

Investigators said it sends a clear message to illegal poachers and dealers thinking about doing business in New York.

The pieces include intricate statues and jewelry, some worth more than tens of thousands of dollars each.

“This piece- 5 juvenile elephants were killed just to make that piece. That's insane,” said John Calvelli of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Nearly two tons of illegal ivory from the tusks of about 100 slaughtered elephants were crushed in Central Park Thursday.

The massive haul, pulverized into dust, was worth an estimated $8.5 million.

However, state officials said no amount of money can make up for all of the innocent lives lost.

In 1980 over a million elephants roamed the earth. Now just 400,000 live.

“Today approximately 100 elephants were killed. The bottom line is that's how many are killed in one day,” said Calvelli.

The Wildlife Conservation Society along with Tiffany & Company and state environmental officials coordinated the event.

Several other groups were also involved including the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Wildlife advocate and music legend Mick Fleetwood has been an IFAW ambassador for many years.

“We're sending a message to the world that fundamentally New York is closed for business to illegal ivory poachers,” said Calvelli.

The sale of ivory across international borders has been banned since 1990.

Since 2014, New York has prohibited the sale, purchase, trade or distribution of anything made from ivory as well.

Officials said this stash alone shows more needs to be done.

“We have to stop the killing. We have got to stop the trafficking. We have to stop the demand,” Calvelli continued.

The Wildlife Conservation Society said the killing of elephants for ivory is done by terrorist groups and criminal organizations.

Officials said when you buy a piece of ivory, you're actually helping fund terrorism and criminality.

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