Why is Ivory trade bad? What makes ivory so valuable?

Mudassir Ali
Feb 24, 2020 05:04 AM 0 Answers
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Mudassir Ali
- Feb 24, 2020 05:04 AM

Ivory is valuable as a material due to its aesthetic value and its carving qualities. It also has the status of rare luxury goods. It is also very limited in quantity, coming from African elephant tusks only.

Ivory trade has many problems, mainly:

perpetuating outrageous cruelty towards elephants
environmental impacts of driving the species towards extinction
supporting organised crime both locally in African countries and worldwide
ease of counterfeiting antique ivory.
Elephants mature and reproduce very slowly: an elephant reaches sexual maturity at around 10 years, but don’t mature into reproducing adults until about 20 years. Pregnancy lasts 22 months and calves are totally dependent on their mother’s milk for many years, during which it is unlikely the mother will become pregnant again. This makes the effects of poaching especially tremendous.

Historically, the elephant had to be killed to get its tusks because no other way existed, and today, the extreme prices of ivory drive poachers to remove the tusks as fully as they can, including the part that hasn’t yet emerged from inside the elephant’s head. Even if the elephant was only tranquillised it would suffer unimaginably and die of haemorrhage or infection soon after.

With today’s technology, it is indeed possible to tranquillise an elephant and remove most of its tusks without harming the animal, and this has been done in some countries in attempt to protect particular elephants. However this is expensive and not totally safe due to the risks in tranquillising. The ivory from these elephants is always destroyed by government officials, because any new ivory in the global market would mean new potential profits for dealers and in turn support the illegal trade.

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