In a symbolic gesture it hopes will lead to a 'crushing' defeat for the ivory trade, the Unites States has destroyed more than six tons of the sought-after commodity with the help of a massive crusher located at the National Wildlife Property Repository north of Denver. The huge ivory stockpile, consisting of everything from ornaments to intricate jewellery, had been seized from smugglers, tourists and traders at US ports of entry over the past 25 years.

“These stockpiles of ivory fuel the demand. We need to crush the stores of ivory worldwide. - Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service”

Despite a global ban on the tusk trade, tens of thousands of elephants (some estimates are as high as 50,000) are killed by poachers for their tusks each year.

"These stockpiles of ivory fuel the demand," said Dan Ashe, director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. "We need to crush the stores of ivory worldwide.''

However, the decision to destroy the contraband has been met with resistance from some conservationists, who argue that the ivory crush sends the wrong message to poachers.

These images courtesy of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service show the ivory-crushing process. Do you think it was the right decision? Tell us in the comments below.

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