Sri Lanka destroyed 359 elephant tusks on 26 January, after paying tribute with a Buddhist ceremony for the wild animals who lost their lives for them. John Scanlon, the secretary general of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, attended the event with Sri Lanka's Wildlife Minister, Gamini Jayawickrama Perera.

Local customs officials confiscated the tusks in 2012 while the shipment was in transit on its way to Dubai from Kenya. Sri Lanka is a signatory to the Washington Convention of 1979, which requires governments to ensure that trade of wild specimens and plants does not threaten their survival.

Scanlon said: "Today's event is the first such destruction of confiscated ivory in South Asia and it is the first time such an event has included a religious ceremony in honour of the elephants that were killed, which has made today's event unique and a remarkable event."

The tusks were crushed at the event location and the remains were taken to an incinerator to be burnt. In Africa elephant poaching for ivory has been rampant, with Asia the main market for the illicit commodity.