There is a ban on the international trade of ivory. Even though this ban still exists, elephants are still not protected from poaching. Thousands of elephants are killed annually mainly because of their ivory tusks. These poachers hunt down elephants in their habitats, kill them, then sell their valuable body parts on the black market. Rangers who protect these elephants have a challenging task because they are personally risking their lives to ensure the safety of the animals.
The ban on international trade was helpful when it was introduced in 1989, protecting the endangered elephants and allowing them to grow in their numbers. But recently, there has been a growth in elephant poaching due to the increasing demand coming from Asia. China has become one of the biggest consumers of ornaments and jewellery made from ivory.
Ivory is the hard, white material from the tusks and teeth of elephants. This material can also be found on other animals like warthogs, narwhals, and hippopotami as well as other animals mostly in the savannah regions.
The tusks are incisor teeth that are connected to the elephant’s upper jaw. It is so large it protrudes even after the elephant closes its mouth. It is used by the elephant for many things, mainly fighting, foraging, manoeuvring, and digging for roots. The tusk also protects the trunk, a vital part of an elephant’s body. It grows throughout an elephant’s life and can grow up to 10 feet long, weighing about 200 pounds.
Why are poachers so interested in obtaining elephant tusks?
The tusks of elephants are valuable because they can be used to make many artefacts or materials for human satisfaction. This has led to the increasing demand for elephant tusk, especially from Asia. Most people who buy ivory-made products claim they will support the ban of such products, but ironically, they still buy them.
The problem that comes with buying more ivory or tusk products means there is a demand for it. When there is a demand for it forces the suppliers to hunt down more elephants. Elephants are already endangered worldwide, and it is unsafe to continue hunting them down for selfish reasons.
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