As we get close to Thanksgiving, a holiday I am most thankful for, I've been wondering what you would cook if you hosted a herd of elephants. As I explored possible dishes I found a few that I think pachyderms would enjoy.
As a disclaimer, we're not going to measure the sheer amount of food you'd have to fix, namely because a single elephant eats 200-300 lbs of food a day. So just looking at the dishes themselves, let's see what you could serve elephants on Thanksgiving.
As I looked over past posts, I realized I've never talked about why ivory is so valued all over the world. So in this post, let's look at why the tusks of elephants are some of the most coveted objects on earth.
Ivory is considered a very fine material, both by carvers and by consumers. Its cultural and religious value can be seen in many Eastern cultures, and its artistic qualities are revered all over the world. But ivory is also a great material to work with. It's smooth qualities make it easily carved, which is why we see stunning pieces of art with intricate designs made out of tusks. But while the ivory trade has become a hot topic in recent years, the market has been around for hundreds of years.
This post serves to answer all the little questions you didn't know you had about elephants. I hope you learn something new!
Q: Can elephants run?
A: Not exactly. Elephants are physically unable to run, according to the widespread definition. A run is often identified as a quick form of movement where the animal, at some point, has all feet off the ground at the same time. Needless to say this isn't possible for an elephant, who takes long strides to spread its weight among its four legs. But their front legs do move in a bouncy manner when they're traveling fast, so perhaps we could call their movement a wun, or maybe a ralk? Regardless, they can travel at pretty fast speeds, as Cincinnati Zookeeper Val Nastold says. According to Nastold, elephants can reach about 35 mph. Not bad for a ralk.
Q: Do elephants really never forget?
Washington state became the fourth U.S. state to pass anti-ivory laws last night. The bill, Initiative 1401, prohibits the wildlife trafficking of 10 endangered animals and their parts, including elephant and rhino ivory.
“If the biggest market is in China, the second biggest is in the United States," said Thane Maynard, director of the Cincinnati Zoo. “If you want to stop killing elephants you’ve got to stop the market for elephant parts.”
Initiative 1401 did just that last night. The bill, which passed in all of Washington's 39 counties, protects animals like sharks, tigers, lions, rays, marine turtles, leopards, cheetahs, pangolins and elephants. The bill won by an overwhelming majority of 70 percent. According to the bill, the sale, sale intent, bartering, distribution, trade and purchase of any live animal or product from the species listed above is prohibited.
However, there are exceptions to this bill, which address many public concerns and debates involving the ban of these products.
Kerry Skiff is a conservation advocate and recent journalism graduate of Northern Kentucky University. She follows the ivory trade around the world, and uses her voice to educate Americans about their role in animal conservation.