The trade of elephant ivory is vigorously condemned in much of the world, although it still achieves a viable market in some parts of Asia, according to The Nature Conservancy. The traded ivory is usually formed into jewelry and other decorative items. It is sometimes even used to fashion miniature elephant statues. The material also had a long history of use around the world before trade was banned.Continue Reading
Throughout the ages, ivory has been employed to create many things. Aside from jewelry and statues, ivory was used in the Middle Ages to produce magnificent reliquaries for the bones and relics of saints, where, according to Columbia University, the pure color of ivory was thought to properly express the sanctity of the remains.
By the 18th and 19th centuries, ivory became a popular material for scrimshaw and comb making, though this was typically at the cottage-industry level. By the 19th century, however, ivory production became big business, particularly by the end of the 1900s when demand for pianos, especially in the United States, exploded with the ragtime era. Ivory was the most desired material for white piano keys.
By the mid-1940s, overhunting of bull elephants slowed piano production considerably. By 1989, the first international ban on elephant ivory was instituted, a move that led to the formal closure of markets in both Europe and the United States. Despite serious efforts by groups worldwide to eradicate the trade completely, as of 2014, Asian markets still provide allure for illegal ivory traders and poachers. The ivory is still used there for jewelry and items such as statuettes.Learn more about Elephants
Characterized by their long trunks and large ears, elephants are the largest land-living mammals in the world. There are two types of elephants: African and Asian elephants. Elephants have no natural predators; human development and poachers present the largest threats to the elephant population.Full Answer >
The body parts of an elephant include the trunk, tusks, teeth, ears, legs, skin and a tail. In common with all vertebrates, they also have skeletons and internal organs. Elephants also have a brain that is four times the size of a human brain, making it the largest brain of any known land animal.Full Answer >
The size of an elephant depends on the elephant's age, gender and type; the largest elephant was an adult male African elephant who weighed approximately 24,000 pounds and stood 13 feet tall at the shoulder. Most African elephants stand from 8.2 to 13 feet tall at the shoulder.Full Answer >
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) gives the average weight of an African elephant as 6 tons. The typical weight of an African elephant varies according to the animal's gender and age.Full Answer >