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anti-ivory smuggling

colored tusks
(+7, -7)
  [vote for,

Ivory is smuggled because it makes a great carving medium. I have seen spectacular carvings in many museums. This is also the problem leading to poaching. What I propose is a dye or chemical that can be fed to the affected animals (mostly elephants I think) or infused into the ivory to make it unusable as a carving medium. Think blue or red as long as it makes it less attractive. I know exposure to certain chemicals while growing can taint even the enamel on teeth so there should be something that could do this. By the way some of the best ivory carving I've seen is in Spring Green Wisconsin at a place called House on the Rock its well worth a visit if your ever in Wisconsin.
pydor, Nov 21 2006

Rainbow Ivories Rainbow Ivories
[Zimmy]'s invention might benefit from this idea. [zen_tom, Nov 28 2006]


       Wouldn't that be incredibly cruel? A keeper at the zoo told me once that elephants live for as long as their teeth last - once their teeth have worn down, they pretty much just starve to death - luckily for the elephants in the zoo that they have their own veterinary dentists, but wild ones aren't usually that lucky.   

       The chemicals you suggest probably a.) don't exist or b.) if they exist, they would probably damage the teeth, making them degrade faster - ie, making an already endangered species more endangered.
froglet, Nov 21 2006

       Tusks are not teeth I used teeth as an example because I know they can be discolored from some chemical exposures this does not affect the integrity of the teeth and teeth are harder than ivory. I admit I do not know enough about the growth of ivory tusks to suggest a chemical or usable dye, however I'm sure there are experts that could assess the pros and cons and determine a usable substance if there is one.
pydor, Nov 21 2006

       Antibiotics during pregnancy can lead to discolored and slightly translucent teeth (of the child that is). Funny. I just learned that at the dentist an hour ago. I'll give this one a [+] just for the sheer coincidence.
shinobi, Nov 21 2006

       I can't thnk of any dye which would colour the tusks in such a way as to deter poachers. I suspect, in fact, that the colouring would become another marketing ploy. Personally, I favour the method used by Richard Leakey when he was responsible for wildlife preservation; anyone found in a protected area was shot, and the body interviewed afterwards.
angel, Nov 21 2006

       Yes that and make all ivory carvings illegal, destroy them all even the ones in wisconsin. Then when you see one you can shoot the owner.
zeno, Nov 21 2006

       //Tusks are not teeth// Actually, i think tusks are teeth. I'm pretty sure they're the elephants second upper incisors.   

       I like the idea of making ivory unattractive to poachers but I just can't see any chemical that would be able to do this without damaging the elephants teeth also
Heavy_Phat, Nov 21 2006

       Why are you trying to figgure out a way to stop the smuggling of tusks and then in the same idea suggesting we go visit a musem dedicated to ivory carving. Sounds like you really care alot.
Chefboyrbored, Nov 21 2006

       The fact that I admire an art form does not mean I condone the method of its creation whats done is done. Destroy all ivory artwork? Maybe we should level the pyramids or the great wall of china because they used slave labor. "Discoloring the tusks of such a majestic creature", My girlfriend had similar misgivings when I wanted to use a shock collar to keep our dog out of the road, my girlfriend won and our dog lost. I didn't mean for this to be an ethical debate I believe this to be a potential solution to a problem that doesn't seem to be getting better with the current policing method. There are many above average people on this site with a wide variety of expertise and interests and if this idea has any merit I was hoping to get it to someone that can do something with it. I certainly don't have the technical know how myself.
pydor, Nov 22 2006

       I think it is a fine idea. Given all the knowledge about dyes, there must be one which would accomplish this - probably it could be painted on externally as ivory would probably soak stuff up to some degree. I do not understand much about the ivory market - who wants ivory today? I wonder if it is being ground up for use in medicine or some such use.
bungston, Nov 22 2006

       //who wants ivory today?//
Piano key makers - it's sad, but elephant tusks and rhino horns make great piano keys.
'Traditional' medicine makers - there's a huge market for this, I mean, if somebody you really cared about was dying, why would you refuse some expensive and illegal medicine in the hope that it would make them better? Because it was killing animals? In the grand scheme of things, people place the ones they love over animals in other countries.
Some African tribes hunt them down because it's a part of their culture - ie, killing an elephant proves that the men are 'manly' or something like that - they only kill about one or two a year, though.
Some peope have the ivory put into knife handles, but this trade is either dying or has died out. I have seen a few nice ivory-handled daggers from colonial times.
Carving ornaments out of, although this is probably not that popular in the Western world nowadays, there have been reports of ivory goods becoming incredibly valuable in places such as China and South Africa.
froglet, Nov 22 2006

       The pyramids were not built by slaves but by paid workers. All ivory artwork should be destroyed, destroyed I tell you destroyed!!!
zeno, Nov 23 2006

       //All ivory artwork should be destroyed//

Surely destroying existing artwork would create a demand for more, precisely what [pydor] is aiming to prevent. It would also entirely fail to bring the ivory donors back to life, and is thus pointless as well as being counter-productive.
angel, Nov 23 2006

       I have to say I like this idea. It _must_ be possible to infuse the tusk with a dye of some description. The process might take time; maybe it could be painted onto the tusks and left to work its way in?   

       In principle it's a great idea. The down side is that there's no way to distinguish between ivory acquired by killing the elephant, and ivory taken from dead elephants. Hence this doesn't really move us forward - the best way to protect elephants is to stop the ivory trade. Don't ask me how we go about that.
david_scothern, Nov 23 2006

       .... put a bounty on the teeth of the hunters, and make them into miniature piano keys
xenzag, Nov 23 2006

       I don't think that injecting dye into a tusk would give it a less artistic value.   

       If the dye could be injected than it could also be cleaned out by a poacher. The idea also suggests altering nature so I still keep my bones in place.
Chefboyrbored, Nov 26 2006

       A good idea that was actually done was to sedate the elephaunt and "steal" his tusks and destroy them. Thus the poachers would not kill them anymore.   

       Destroying stuff made from ivory is a good and sound idea. People can no longer see ivory objects and go: ooh gimme gimme. It would decrease demand. Also an idea can not be popintless and bad at the same time. It can only have a bad point in your opinion which is wrong anyway.
zeno, Nov 27 2006

       Anyways, the methods of sedating elephants, rhinos, etc is not as exact as it is with humans. They could accidentally end up killing it by oversedation, or it may wake up and get angry if it finds that somebody is removing their horn/tusks if it isn't sedated enough.
froglet, Nov 28 2006

       The only way to solve the issue is to flood the market with cheap synthetic ivory that's indistinguishable from the regular kind. I don't know how to make synthetic ivory - or even if it exists - but if it fetches good prices, then at some point it's going to become cheaper to manufacture it, than traipsing all over the bush looking for elephants.
zen_tom, Nov 28 2006

       Colors would only increase demand for ivory.
popbottle, Nov 30 2016

       I'd avoid candy stripe, like a barber's pole, as they'd just end up outside barber's shops.   

       Still still working on this..."Ok Mr/Ms Elephant, we can dye now or you can die later". I'll get there in the end.
not_morrison_rm, Nov 30 2016

       Remove their tusks and replace them with prosthetic steel ones.
Voice, Nov 30 2016

       Recruit armed bears as bodyguards for the elephants ?
8th of 7, Nov 30 2016

       Remove their tusks and replace them with prosthetic Gatling guns.
Voice, Dec 02 2016


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