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Ivory Trade Essay

2015 words - 8 pages

Do you ever look down at your ivory rings and cry? Do you ever cringe while playing your piano? Well you should. This ivory that you may cherish, comes from a murdered elephant. There is a chance your ivory may be “fair-trade” but only 5% of all ivory is (Reisner 82-83). Just last year, 25,000 elephants were killed for their ivory (Christy 54). Elephant Populations are decreasing drastically and there is a worry they will go extinct. By wearing your rings or playing your ivory piano you are not committing a crime, but you may be supporting illegal ivory trade. The one way to repay the elephants is to become educated on the topic unlike so many and know not to buy illegal ivory. Elephants need to be here to stay. Not only are they adorable but they also are an iconic species in Africa that the world cannot simply watch disappear. It is very important for the harmful ivory trade to be stopped. Ivory is used in many ways and the ivory trade created because of these uses has great repercussions which stun governments and freeze and confuse environmentalists.
Throughout history, Ivory has always been treasured, not only for its beauty but also its many uses and social significance. Ivory is often compared to diamonds because of the high demand and prized social significance, but unlike diamonds ivory has been treasured and used for thousands of years. Ivory trade is an ancient industry. Elephants used to live on the southern coast of the Mediterranean Sea but the Romans and Carthaginians hunted out the population by the first century of AD (Reisner 80). But ivory trade has existed even longer than the romans. Just recently, beautifully carved ivory was found in China that dates back to 1600-1046 BCE (John Frederick Walker). This ivory comes from a time in China where the Shang dynasty ruled. The Shang Dynasty were influential leaders that loved art and encouraged artists. Historians believe that at this time, ivory business thrived because of the artist demand. This was just the beginning of ivory trade. Since 1600 BCE Ivory has continued to be the materiel of choice for many artists and ivory trade has done nothing but increase. Ivory was and is the material chosen by many artists because of its beauty and its ability to be carved very finely. Because of these unique properties ivory is very valuable and has many uses. Ivory is mainly used for religious purposes, jewelry and of course, art. Artistically, art is loved for its beauty of color and easiness to carve which many believe cannot be found anywhere else. Religiously, ivory is used to carve statues to honor a god in a certain religion. Many different religions honor ivory. Roman Catholics in the Philippines are some of the worst offenders. Seizures of ivory made last year in the Philippines alone, represent about 1745 elephants.Ivory and religion are so tightly knit in the Philippines that the word for ivory’s second meaning is “religious statue” (NAT GEO). The catholic love for ivory spreads...

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