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Belgium destroys ivory stockpile, warns smugglers

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April 9, 2014 07:48 AM EST | AP


BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgian authorities have destroyed over 1,500 kilos (3,300 pounds) of ivory that had been seized by customs over the past three decades to serve as a warning to international smugglers who kill elephants daily for their tusks.

Wednesday's ivory crush followed similar initiatives in the United States, China and France. The pulverized ivory from the tusks will be turned into artwork to highlight Belgium's efforts to protect elephants.

The destruction by a crusher comes as the 28-nation European Union is mulling stronger action against illegal wildlife trafficking.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare group says some 50,000 elephants a year are killed for their tusks.