Animals have always been used by humans for different labor works and animals have fulfilled varying desires of human beings. Humans are pretty attached with animals in many ways.
In actual practice, man exists because of animals, as without these labelled ‘inferior organisms’ our ecosystem cannot survive.
But still we are striving our best to end their existence due to greed for money and materialism. We are snatching their needs and rights and destroying their habitat by multiple acts, all followed by avarice and selfishness.
This world was created not just for us but for every living organism; trees have their role, microorganisms, that is, bacteria has its part in the ecosystem or biosphere, and any imbalance of population of different species can result into chaos.
Elephant- A Beautiful Creature
Right now, we are grabbing over animals’ necessary elements from them, elephants are uprising victims. This magnificent and magnanimous creature is killed just for its tusk whose material (called ivory) is used in making daily life related things, most of them are ornaments.
The word “Elephant” comes from the Greek word “Elephas” or “Ivory”. Elephants are the most gigantic land mammals on earth, having massive body, large ears, tusks and trunk.
Elephant’s gestation period is the longest one, that is, 22 months. The average age of elephant is 50-70 years while the longest lifespan an elephant lived on earth was 87 years.
Elephants have different habitats including deserts, savannahs, marshes and forests. They are herbivores and are the key impacting to the environment.
Elephant has peculiar behavior that includes compassion, sorrow, self-awareness and ability to understand and play both art and music. This displays the uniqueness of elephant’s intelligence. Male elephants get separated from the family and live in bachelor groups and mostly alone. Females or mothers are busy taking care of the cubs.
Africa has the greatest number of elephants living, Botswana has over a hundred thousand wild elephants. African Elephants are the largest of all the elephant species and weigh about 8 tons.
The ears of elephants vary in size for different species like Asian elephant’s ears are smaller than the fan shaped ears of African Elephants.
African forest elephants are the main distributors of seeds that’s why they are called the Mega gardeners of the forests.
Mostly, seeds are passed through their digestive tracts ending up into dung and these seeds germinate very fast.
Elephants help in regulating the composition and structure of forests. They provide biodiversity in an ecosystem by making paths for other animals.
Tusks are actually dentine teeth, modified incisors (bony structure) to be accurate, covered with enamel of elephant’s mouth. Well, tusks are evolutionary beneficiary part of an elephant which have different uses.
It is used for digging, picking up food, lifting weight, defence against predators, stripping the bark of trees, marking its territory on tree’s bark and protecting the trunk, structure in front of the mouth which is used for drinking and grabbing things.
Elephant tusk grows 7 inches per year. Both African male and female elephants grow tusks while only males of Asian elephants can grow tusks and, like humans, elephants can also be ‘right tusked’ and ‘left tusked’ and frequently the most used tusk is smaller.
Tusk weight is dependent upon the size and species of the elephant. The average tusk weight of African elephant is 23-45 kg. The heaviest tusk ever found of Asian elephant was 47 kg.
Does elephant tusk grow back?
No, elephant tusk is a bony structure which does not regrow if cut down, elephant would live its whole life without tusk as these are teeth of the elephant.
Rhino’s tusk can regrow as it is made up of keratin, the protein found in fingernails and hair.
Ivory is white material from tusk, which is protruded on either side of the trunk. Ivory is extremely valuable material that’s why it is called ‘white gold’. It is used to make different carved objects like netsukes, jewelry, flatware handles, furniture inlays, billiard balls and piano keys.
Additionally, warthog tusks, and teeth from sperm whales, orcas, warthog and hippos can also be carved to different seemingly meaningful objects.
Ivory is also used in medical field for making variety of structures like false teeth and substitute for bones in surgeries of broken bones. Ivory is used by Chinese medicine claiming to be effective in many illnesses.
How is Ivory extracted?
There are many methods ivory traders use to cut tusk of elephant, most of which include killing the poor animal.
Hunters and poachers kill elephants by heavy shotguns and poison. They, then, remove the tusk and sell it. Some poachers faint the elephant and, then, cut the tusks.
Well, elephant should wear ivory as it is his part of body. We are actually practicing oppression over the animal and grabbing over its essential property, which is immoral in all aspects of our teachings and civilizations.
Ivory’s Illegal Trading
The African elephant population decreased from 1942 to 1989 from 1.3 million to only 600,000. Ivory traders gave excuses like habitat loss as the actual cause for decline in population and tried to cover their black acts.
As the ivory usage and its demand increased, ivory trade increased and the traders started asking poachers for more ivory which resulted into inclined surge of elephant hunting.
Around 75,000 African elephants, of estimated worth of 1 billion dollars, were killed for ivory trade during this decade annually. Pathetically, most of them were illegally killed for ivory.
Even international deliberators did not look upon issue of the illegal killing of Elephants in Africa and, now, it has reached to alarming level causing the increment of corruption and the black currency for different means like buying arms and breaking of law, etc.
In 1989, the international agreement of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) has been introduced and implemented to balance the international trading of species which are endangered.
Hence, elephant ivory trading has been banned since then as the excessive decline in population has made the elephants an endangered species or the species under threat.
This surge decreased a lot along with ivory demand until 2010 when it, again, returned due to consumers’ interest in buying and owning ‘white gold’, so, illegal ivory trading started mainly in Asia; China being the main supplier of Ivory in Asia.
China has passed a bill for not killing the species for ivory on January 1, 2018 which enforces ban on domestic trade of ivory.
WWF (World Wildlife Fund) is also playing its part for diminishing the desire of ivory for consumers.
Possible measures for diminishing ivory trade are: