Elephants without teeth
Equally important is the problem of elephants, hunted for their ivory tusks. The tusks are the upper incisors, which in old males can reach 2-3 metres long and are used by the pachyderms to strip the bark off trees or dig up roots and in social gatherings are exhibited as a sign of power and used as weapons. Ivory is also used to make jewels and other items, which are much sought-after and sold all over the world.
Since the Seventies, the CITES has been successfully protecting Asian elephants and since 1990 African elephants as well. The situation has improved so much that sometimes it causes overpopulation, so that entire families of elephants have to be moved to less crowded areas instead of killing them. Many elephants are moved, for instance, to Angola, whose Government after decades of wars and poaching is trying to reintroduce the Big Five, the five big African mammals: elephants, leopards, buffaloes, lions and rhinoceroses.