Sri Lanka pledges to protect endangered species

Colombo, Jan 26 (IANS) Sri Lankan authorities on Tuesday destroyed more than 359 African elephant tusks (blood ivory) as part of a firm commitment to protect endangered wildlife species.

The ivory was seized in 2012 by the Sri Lanka Customs while it was en route to Dubai from Kenya. The ivory was worth 350 million Sri Lankan rupees, Xinhua reported.

The stock was destroyed with religious offerings to mark the unnecessary sacrifice of elephants.

It was crushed using a modified crusher and was then transported to a cement factory to be burned. The entire process took place amidst tight security.

Minister of Sustainable Development and Wildlife Gamini Jayawickrama Perera said the event would highlight that Sri Lanka would not tolerate any illegal trade in ivory.

Sri Lanka has also given a firm pledge to protect silky sharks and has urged other countries to work together with the island nation on the proposal submitted and encourage sustainable trade for these species.

“With 100 million sharks killed each year, strong action is clearly needed to protect them wherever they are found, and the government of Sri Lanka is joining the global battle to save sharks and rays found at home in the Indian Ocean, and all around the world,” the minister said.

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