The zoo had planned to burn the items on Tuesday -- designated as World Elephant Day 2014 -- to draw attention to recent dramatic increases in the poaching of African elephants and rhinos.
The zoo does not have the documentation to prove the tusks were taken legally, so it can't sell them. But it wouldn't even if it could, Jones said.
"Basically, the philosophy now is, we should be treating this stuff like heroin," Jones said. "If you find a load of drugs, the best way to get rid of it is just to burn it."
Wildlife experts say that more than 30,000 African elephants were slaughtered last year by poachers, of a population of 400,000. More than 1,000 of
Though the animals are protected, hunters kill them to harvest tusks and horns, many of which eventually make their way to
The criminal wholesale trade also is said to fund terrorists, who sell the items to buy weapons or trade for them directly.
Some African governments have destroyed their stockpiles, Jones said, either through incineration or by grinding them into dust. At least one other U.S. zoo has destroyed its pieces.
Because the items at the zoo are not sellable, they have no value, but even so are considered state property and must be disposed of according to the rules, Jones said.
Lawyers for the state
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