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Gabon destroys 5 tons of illegal ivory

LIBREVILLE, Gabon (AP) – Gabon’s president set fire to the country’s stockpile of illegal ivory in what environmentalists are calling a bold move aimed at stopping the rampant poaching of elephants in Africa.

The stockpile weighing close to 5 metric tons includes 1,293 pieces of rough ivory and 17,730 pieces of worked ivory. The total corresponds to 850 dead elephants.

President Ali Bongo said Wednesday that the West African nation has “zero tolerance” for poaching.

According to a report by the United Nations body that regulates the wildlife trade, 2011 was the worst year on record for elephant poaching in Africa. Tens of thousands of elephants are killed in Africa each year for their tusks, which are in demand in Asia.

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