ROME, March 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Elephant Action League (EAL), an American non-profit organization with the mission to fight wildlife crime, together with the Italian Ministry of Environment and the Forest Police, positions Italy in the community of nations actively fighting against criminal networks, traffickers and terrorist groups profiting from the illegal trade of ivory and other wildlife products such as rhino horn and timber.
The first Italian Ivory Crush is scheduled for tomorrow at 5 p.m. in the world-famous Circo Massimo in Rome, between the Coliseum and River Tevere. Hundreds of kilograms of seized ivory, including tusks and carved objects, will be crushed by an industrial stone crusher in front of the public and selected invitees.
During the ceremony almost a ton of seized ivory will be destroyed by a steamroller, with the aim to be disposed permanently.
Those attending the Ivory Crush include the Italian Minister of Environment Mr. Gian Luca Galletti, the Head of the Italian Forest Police Mr. Cesare Patrone, members of the diplomatic community, Francesco Palo Tronca, Prefectural Commissioner of the City of Rome, Ermete Realacci, President of the Commission of Environment (Chamber of Deputies), Giuseppe Marinello, President of the Commission of Environment (Senate), The Parliamentary Secretary Barbara Degani and further showbiz personalities.
Andrea Crosta, co-founder of EAL states that, "Behind elephant poaching and ivory trafficking there is a huge human toll and corruption at all levels: from money laundering to weapons trafficking, and the exploitation of entire local communities. The illegal ivory trade also provides funds to dangerous criminal networks and terrorist organizations."
With this ivory crush, EAL and the Italian Ministry of Environment intend to send a strong signal to the world: Italy will not tolerate ivory trafficking, Italy is committed to protecting elephants from extinction, and Italy will support local communities in Africa to prevent exploitation by criminal networks.
The Italian event is part of a cycle of public destructions, which began in 1989 when the global ivory trade was banned. The next important event is scheduled for the end of April in Nairobi National Park, where one of the most impressive and astounding ivory stockpile destructions ever seen will take place.
A representative from the Kenyan government will attend the Ivory Crush in Rome taking part to the passing of the baton from Italy to Kenya which on 30th April will burn the greatest amount of ivory ever destroyed: about 120 tons!
"We are very proud to have gained the support of the Italian Government for this initiative where a symbolic amount of seized ivory will be destroyed," says Gilda Moratti, co-founder of EAL together along with Andrea Crosta and Francesco Rocca. "The Italian Governmental Institutions' presence is a testament to the strength of our commitment and the value of our project."
"Every day at least one hundred elephants are slaughtered for their ivory and hundreds of people per year are killed or injured trying to poach or defend elephants," declares Andrea Crosta, co-author of the ground-breaking investigation between 2010-2011 that identified the link between the illegal trafficking of ivory and the Somali terrorist group Al-Shabaab, which completely changed the narrative on elephant poaching and ivory trafficking (Africa's White Gold of Jihad).
Alex Rhodes Head of EPI, a conservation partner of the Elephant Action League, adds: "The future for elephants is dependent on the end of the ivory trade. Today, Italy joins countries across Africa, the US and China in emphatically putting its ivory beyond economic use in line with the aims of the African-led Elephant Protection Initiative. Next month Kenya will burn its stockpile of 120tonnes"
We look forward to seeing you tomorrow, 31st March 2016, at 5 p.m. for the first Ivory Crush in Italy, at the Circo Massimo in Rome.
Elephant Action League:
Elephant Action League (EAL) is an innovative hybrid non-profit organization that merges the worlds of intelligence, investigations and conservation in service of wildlife and the people who protect it. Its mission is to fight wildlife and forest crime through Concrete, Innovative and Collaborative projects.
Legally based in the United States, EAL was established in 2013 by three Italians, Andrea Crosta, Gilda Moratti and Francesco Rocca.
EAL's recently published the report BLENDING IVORY, a 10-month undercover investigation in China on ivory and rhino horn trafficking.
EAL is also the creator of WildLeaks, the world's first whistleblowing initiative dedicated to wildlife and forest crime.
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SOURCE Elephant Action League