What is Vegetable Ivory? What is the connection between tagua and elephants?
Tagua is a creamy white nut that closely resembles elephant ivory, with similar physical properties. Like elephant ivory, it is a useful and beautiful material that can be carved into fine jewelry and handicraft products. The difference is that it is a natural renewable product from a plant.
Why are tagua nuts important to elephant conservation?
Vegetable ivory is produced by a plant. The nuts are a renewable resource, harvested without harm to the palm tree. No animals are harmed in its production, It is both ecology and animal friendly.
Poachers of ivory tusks have stamped out half of the populations of African elephants. Bans on the global trade of elephant ivory have inhibited the massacre of elephants, yet the demand for polished ivory has brought the world's largest living land animal to the edge of extinction. The Center for Conservation Biology at the University of Washington has documented the effects of ivory poaching on African elephant populations.
Ivory items were historically made from the tusks of elephants, walruses and whales. Today vegetable ivory is enjoying increased popularity because many of the ivory bearing animals have been hunted to near extinction and also are now on the list of endangered species. In fact, one tagua tree produces the same quantity of "ivory" annually as that produced by a female elephant. By using tagua instead of animal ivory you are helping to save endangered animals, particularly elephants.
The following video, "Where Have All The Elephants Gone?" produced in 2013 shows journalists going undercover to expose the illegal ivory trade. It shows the devastation in Africa that could result in the extinction of elephants within the next twenty years. It's a war, they explain, an untold war, in which the demand for ivory has exploded, a war in which profits corrupt politics and law enforcement.
How is tagua eco friendly?
Tagua is a native species growing wild in the the Amazonian Rainforest. Tagua nuts are harvested without harming the trees. Tagua palm trees continue to produce "vegetable ivory" for year after year as the nuts that fall to the ground are harvested and processed.
Fortunately, people today understand the need to protect our environment and have again turned to the use of renewable natural products to keep our planet and its ecosystems intact for future generations. By using the environmentally friendly tagua products instead of animal ivory, you can help conserve our planet’s endangered species. And help preserve a way of life for the Indigenous of the Amazonian rainforest.
Tagua Nuts Provide Income for Rainforest Families
Natural tagua products are a source of much needed income for families residing in the Amazon rainforest. Within Ecuador alone, it is estimated that over 50,000 persons have part time employment from working with tagua. And the majority of tagua production in South America is done in family owned enterprises.