Elephant tusks found in an attic and ivory ornaments from Chatteris Museum highlight a national anti poaching campaign

Ian Mason, curator of Chatteris Musuem, with three elephant tusks that a Fen family found in the att

Ian Mason, curator of Chatteris Musuem, with three elephant tusks that a Fen family found in the attic of a deceased relative. The tusks, along with ivory trinkets in the museum, were sent to an animal charity for destruction. Picture: CHATTERIS MUSEUM - Credit: Archant

Ivory trinkets from Chatteris museum and three elephant tusks found by a Fen family in a relative’s attic, were used by an animal charity to highlight a campaign urging people to get rid of their ivory.

Chatteris Musuem was given three elephant tusks that a Fen family found in the attic of a deceased r

Chatteris Musuem was given three elephant tusks that a Fen family found in the attic of a deceased relative. The tusks, along with ivory trinkets in the museum, were sent to an animal charit, IWAF, for destruction. Picture: CHATTERIS MUSEUM - Credit: Archant

The campaign, Big Ivory Surrender, is urging museums and the public to hand in goods made from tusk to support their work protecting elephants and to stop the goods getting onto the black market.

Chatteris museum gave two figurines and five animal carvings, all the size of a thimble.

The local family donated three tusks, each weighing 17kg, the weight of an average four year old.

The tusks are thought to be worth up to £50,000 each on the black market.

Ian Mason, curator of Chatteris Musuem, with three elephant tusks that a Fen family found in the att

Ian Mason, curator of Chatteris Musuem, with three elephant tusks that a Fen family found in the attic of a deceased relative. The tusks, along with ivory trinkets in the museum, were sent to an animal charity for destruction. Picture: CHATTERIS MUSEUM - Credit: Archant


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Ian Mason, curator of Chatteris Museum, said: “A lady came into the museum because she had found three large elephant tusks in the attic of a relative who had died and whose will she was sorting out.

“She had inherited these items but wanted to do the right thing and get rid of them responsibly. We then looked at what we had in the museum and searched the best way to get rid of it all.”

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Mr Mason found the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), a global charity, asking people to send ivory items for destruction.

David Cowdrey, head of policy and campaigns for IWAF, said: “Elephant populations are at an all-time low and the species is facing extinction due to the ivory poaching crisis.

Ian Mason, curator of Chatteris Musuem, with three elephant tusks that a Fen family found in the att

Ian Mason, curator of Chatteris Musuem, with three elephant tusks that a Fen family found in the attic of a deceased relative. The tusks, along with ivory trinkets in the museum, were sent to an animal charity for destruction. Picture: CHATTERIS MUSEUM - Credit: Archant

“With at least 20,000 elephants killed for their ivory each year, we are heartened to hear stories of people rejecting ivory ownership and are grateful to Chatteris Museum for contacting us.

“Every piece of ivory represents an elephant who was shot or poisoned for their tusks.

“We know many people now feel uncomfortable owning tusks, carvings or trinkets made from ivory.

“Almost 500 ivory items, weighing around 150kgs in total, were donated in just a few months.

“Although IFAW the public ivory surrender campaign is now over, it still accepts donations, which are passed on to Border Force for destruction.”

The UK Government announced an ivory ban in April 2018 which will come into force by 2019.

• To find out more email info-uk@ifaw.org.

• Chatteris Museum is open Tuesday and Thursday from 2 to 4.30pm and on Saturday from 10 to 1pm.

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