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.Know More
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
The visible ivory tusks on elephants are made primarily of dentine and include small amounts of enamel. Tusk length varies among African and Asian elephants and is hereditary. The upper incisors may grow to 10 feet or more.Full Answer >
The diet of an African elephant consists of roots, grasses, buds, leaves, fruits and barks. Elephants can eat up to 350 pounds of food daily.Full Answer >
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums requires that a single adult elephant is provided with 1,800 square feet of outdoor space and 400 square feet of indoor space. There is no upper limit on space; zoos are encouraged to offer as much space as possible.Full Answer >
In the wild, black rhinos live for 30 to 35 years, whereas white rhinos live for as many as 50 years. Other species of rhinos live for 30 to 40 years. Rhinos typically live longer in captivity than they do in the wild.Full Answer >