Seized ivory set for destruction. Photo courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service

Today, the government will smash tons of ivory that agents seized in trafficking operations over decades.

Dubbed “Ivory Crush,” the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service operation is designed to send a message that the United States won’t tolerate poaching and the illegal tusk trade.

Although the Philippines, Kenya and Gabon have destroyed contraband ivory in those countries, this will be the first time the United States has destroyed large quantities.

“As a matter of principle and policy, the Service does not sell confiscated wildlife derived from endangered and threatened species,” Service officials said in a prepared release.

About 6 tons of tusks and carved ivory from African and Asian elephants that was seized since the 1980s is set for destruction. The service will keep some ivory for educational and training purposes.

The process involves crushing he confiscated ivory into pieces that are too small to be of commercial value.

Below is a video from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about Operation Crush.