Hong Kong starts destroying ivory cache

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong has started incinerating its nearly 30-ton stockpile of confiscated ivory to show it's serious about cracking down on an illegal wildlife trade that is devastating Africa's elephant population.

Authorities on Thursday destroyed the first batch by burning a metric ton of elephant tusks in a rotary kiln.

Destroying the stockpile, which is one of the world's biggest, is expected to take up to two years.

It follows similar initiatives by Belgium, France, China, the U.S. and the Philippines.

Hong Kong customs agents have intercepted a series of big shipments of smuggled ivory in recent years. The busts highlight the former British colony's role as a transshipment hub for ivory shipped from Africa to mainland China, where demand is growing because of rising incomes.