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What would you do with an elephant tusk?

(18 Posts)
pintaloosa Sat 20-Aug-11 09:03:43

DH has a 7 inch ivory elephant tusk tip, it was originally mounted on a metal stand and intended as an ornament (nice).

He aquired it from his grandparents who lived in Africa in the 1920s, so it is from an elephant that died many decades ago, but all I can think of is the collapsed carcass of the elephant that was killed for it's ivory. I want it out of the house.

Just throwing it away seems disrespectful to the elephant somehow..

Obviously I don't want to sell it, even if it were legal, I don't want money from it.

Have considered giving it a burial (sounds loony, I know), but wondered if any conservation or educational organisation could use it?

SoupDragon Sat 20-Aug-11 09:06:30

you could sell it, if it is legal to do so, and donate the money to an elephant conservation charity.

CaptainMartinCrieff Sat 20-Aug-11 09:08:19

It is legal to sell if over a certain age. Sell it and donate the money.

fivegomadindorset Sat 20-Aug-11 09:08:27

What Soupdragon said, it is only modern poached ivory that is illegal to sell.

pintaloosa Sat 20-Aug-11 09:13:42

Ah, that's a great idea soup, but I did a quick google and it seems like to sell it I need documentation that it predates 1947, i don't have that sad

SoupDragon Sat 20-Aug-11 09:19:37

Contact a local auction house and give them the whole story. See what they say.

SoupDragon Sat 20-Aug-11 09:20:37

There must be lots of old ivory which has no documentation because none was needed at the time.

SuePurblybilt Sat 20-Aug-11 09:21:48

I would really not sell it - it seems to me that making something desirable in the marketplace (as it were) is only likely to increase poaching.

I would offer it to a local zoo or museum as a curiosity/educational tool, on the condition it is not sold on.

pintaloosa Sat 20-Aug-11 09:27:12

Sue, that was sort of my feeling, if I sell it that makes me an ivory trader, even if I give the money away. Might try the zoo.

SuePurblybilt Sat 20-Aug-11 09:29:30

I would say the zoo would be a good place to start, they could hopefully advise. If they're no help, email the Natural History Museum praps, ask for advice?

mousymouse Sat 20-Aug-11 09:38:44

you could give it to piano makers/workshops. they sometimes need ivory to replace keys.

ripstheirthroatoutliveupstairs Sat 20-Aug-11 09:44:05

Give it to a local museum?
Replace your DHs elephant thing with a ring or bracelet made of elephant hair.

SuePurblybilt Sat 20-Aug-11 09:49:43

<hopefully they can advise, not 'they hopefully could'. I think I need coffee>

SoupDragon Sat 20-Aug-11 09:51:15

To look at another way, selling it and donating the money to an elephant charity does some actual good and, by virtue of being old ivory, is one less bit of demand for new ivory.

what does your DH think, given that it is his?

ggirl Sat 20-Aug-11 09:52:33

I have a very thick ivory bracelet my father brought back from Africa in the 60's. Tis beautiful until you realise it's ivory.

pintaloosa Sat 20-Aug-11 09:54:28

DH doesn't mind me disposing of it.

SuePurblybilt Sat 20-Aug-11 10:04:32

I'll have to disagree there Soup, it is said to be more likely to led to an increase in new ivory made to look like old ivory. The idea is to stop all trading in exotic animal parts, new or old, to reduce desirability and keep the stigma current.

IFAW report here

Scaevola Sat 20-Aug-11 11:24:39

DEFRA is in charge of CITES protection in UK. The CITES FAQs page of their website says:

"If you obtained the specimen a long while ago, or you have inherited it, you may not be able to prove the date you acquired it.  Please contact us, as we may be able to suggest ways in which its acquisition date can be determined.  For example, it is possible for experts to give an approximate date which will be good enough for us to be able to determine if it pre-dates its listing on CITES, or whether it meets the antiques derogation."

This would clear up whether you could legally sell it (sounds as if you should be able to). I'd sell and donate. Otherwise, burial or cremation?

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