Joined by representatives of several federal agencies and conservation groups, the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Dan Ashe, presided over the mechanized ivory crushing at a special storehouse in Colorado in the first event of its kind in the United States. "We need to end the demand for ivory," Ashe said, adding that a growing affluent class in Asia, primarily in China, was behind a spike in demand for ivory and its products in recent years. President Barack Obama issued an executive order in July, calling on federal officials to step up their crackdown against illegal wildlife trafficking. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday announced a reward of up to $1 million for information that leads to the dismantling of the so-called Xaysavang Network, a Laos-based criminal organization that he said has been linked to wildlife smuggling.