ASHLAND, Ore. — Several tons of the illegal, poached ivory crushed earlier this month, first passed through Ashland before being destroyed.
Countless animals are killed every year for features like ivory or exotic fur. When poaching crimes are investigated, a forensics team at the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Lab in Ashland investigate. Some of the confiscated ivory had been sitting locked away at the lab until earlier this month, when nearly all of it was sent away to be destroyed to send a message to poachers.
Tons of statues, carvings and other items made from elephant ivory were destroyed in an effort to send a message to poachers. Before being sent away, at least three tons were kept at the forensics lab in Ashland.
The items were analyzed as part of poaching investigations at the Ashland lab which is the only wildlife forensics lab in the world. All items were confiscated as a result of poaching and crimes against wildlife.
The poaching problem remains, and Lab Director Ken Goddard said everyone can help by not purchasing any ivory, thereby eliminating the demand, and the need to kill the elephants.
“Don’t buy this stuff. Yes, it’s beautiful, but if you’re buying a statue off a shelf, you’re emptying that shelf, another tusk is needed, tusks aren’t available, and they’re going to have to kill another elephant,” said Goddard.
Elephant tusks or parts obtained before the Endangered Species Act are perfectly legal. Right now the lab in Ashland works cases for more than 170 countries in the world who are trying to uphold endangered species laws.