Wildlife trafficking is a conservation problem, an economic problem, a health problem, and a security problem. Slaughters of wildlife have grown exponentially as prices for ivory and rhino horn are skyrocketing. Illicit funds allow poachers to ramp up their firepower and employ ruthless tactics that jeopardize communities and rule of law in countries across the globe. On November 14, 2013, the Department of the Interior destroyed the United States' entire stock of confiscated contraband ivory -- totaling nearly six tons. Members of U.S. Government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and celebrities gathered together for this historical event in Denver, Colorado. During the Ivory Crush event, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Judith Garber stated, "It is not just a conservation problem, it is now a security problem."
With this public event, the United States is sending a simple but powerful message to the sadistic poachers who kill elephants and other animals, and to all the traffickers who transport illicit cargo and the consumers who purchase these illicit goods: "You cannot and must not mistake our seriousness.” Leaders everywhere must step up and meet the challenge of rooting out the corruption, graft, and complicity in the system that threaten all of us. The United States is committed to doing our part.