Just Forests warmly welcomes Sri Lankan Apology for Its Role in Illegal Ivory Trade
Sri Lanka became the fifteenth country today to crush and burn its ivory stockpile and the first to formally apologize for its role in the illegal ivory trade.
26th January 2016
Sri Lanka Is First Country in the World to Apologize for Its Role in Illegal Ivory Trade
“We have to apologize,” the Venerable Omalpe Sobitha Thero, the Buddhist priest who led the service, told National Geographic. “Those elephants were victimized by the cruelty of certain people. But all of human society is responsible. We destroyed those innocent lives to take those tusks. We have to ask for pardon from them.”
The ivory, comprised of 359 tusks and weighing 1.5 tons, is the country’s entire stockpile. Worth an estimated $3 million, the tusks were seized by customs authorities in May 2012 en route from Kenya to Dubai. However, DNA testing revealed that the tusks came from Tanzania.
The tusks were originally going to be donated to the Sri Dalada Maligawa Buddhist Temple, but the government changed its plans amid public outcry. According to National Geographic, critics of the plan feared the tusks would re-enter the black market and that by handing them over to a third party, the government would violate the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the body that regulates the global wildlife trade.
Sri Lanka will destroy its ivory stockpile—and hold a religious ceremony to apologize to the elephants: http://on.natgeo.com/20ph94l