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Can We Reconcile Ivory and Art?

In late September, New York seized the largest amount of ivory in state history, with an estimated worth of $4.5 million- but the perpetrator is not who you might imagine. Unlike many recent seizures, this ivory was not in the form of tusks, but instead valuable antiques. When imagining the production and sale of ivory, poachers, criminals and the black market comes to mind. However, the impact of antique ivory, sold and collected by museums and curators, is often left unconsidered in the ivory debate. With new calls for total bans on ivory in France, the U.K., and Kenya, it is time to face the question of what role antique ivory plays in the endangerment of elephants.

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