From Tusks to Trinkets

Look at your watch. An elephant was just slaughtered for his tusks. In 15 minutes, another one will die. This is the current rate of poaching, this IS the bleak reality. THIS is why the world is starting to pay attention.

15 min


Sept 9, 2013: USA announces it will be destroying its 6-ton stockpile of illegal ivory it has collected over the last 25 years.

June 21, 2013: Philippines destroyed it’s 5-ton stockpile of elephant ivory.

2011: Kenya burned 5-tons, and another 12-tons in 1989.

1992: Zambia burned 9.5 tons.

Who’s next?  It’s a trend that needs to continue. If the elephants are to be saved, a strong message has to be sent to would-be poachers, collectors, traders….WE WILL NOT TOLERATE KILLING OF OUR WILDLIFE.

Is it too much to hope for Hong Kong, Thailand, and China to do the same?

How about South Africa? Or Tanzania?

Tanzania is home to the largest ivory stockpile in the world, and so far shows no intention of giving up its collection.  In Feb 2013, National Geographic visited the warehouse where the $50 million ivory is stored. The government argues it could be sold to assist conservation efforts and bring money to what is one of the poorest nations. Yet, they spend nearly $75,000 a year to secure it.

Destroying the stockpile would remove that cost, eliminate opportunity for corruption and theft, as well as showing a commitment to the trade ban.


Ivory is used to make trinkets, carvings; frivolous things. (Trading LIFE for a THING…a terrible habit of humanity today.) Part of the desire for it, is it’s strength.

It is precisely this durability that makes it difficult to destroy. Burning it only works if it is at a high temperature for a long period of time; otherwise it is only charred, while the inside is left intact. In fact, this is exactly how sellers of the ivory used to proof it was the real thing by passing a lighter or match over it, demonstrating it wouldn’t burn.

This means some of the tusks that were previously burned could have been recovered and made it back into the black market.

crushing ivory

Even crushing it is difficult. After much fanfare and a public display including a road roller in the Philippines, it was discovered they still needed to hammer the fragments with a back-hoe scoop, then incinerate them in an animal crematorium.

Let’s face it, tusks were meant for elephants. Not as necklaces or piano keys, and certainly unfathomable to think about how to destroy them.

To help bring awareness to the elephants, please donate if you can to the Times Square Billboard. The Elephant in Times Square. Let’s shout it to the rooftops, and tell the world what is happening to our majestic elephants.

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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