These ivory carvings are one-of-a-kind. Today, they were destroyed, and not a moment too soon.

On a cool Friday morning in New York City's Times Square, I took a grainy, poorly composed photo of some of the most beautiful, tacky, and bizarre ivory carvings I've ever seen.

Photos by Eric March/Upworthy.


Just a few hours later, every single one of them was crushed into little tiny bits by this machine.

GIFs by Eric March/Upworthy.

Never to be seen again.

At 8 a.m., the pre-pulverized statues were on display in all their weirdness.

Much about this is deeply unsettling.

Officer Neil Mendelsohn of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and his colleagues worked through the night arranging and posing hundreds of the illegal trinkets — all so they could be smashed into oblivion early the next morning.

"I actually built that structure in my garage," he told me. "I'm functioning on no sleep."

Crushing a bunch of ivory in one of the busiest intersections in the world might seem like a random thing to do on a Friday.

But it actually makes a (literal) ton of sense. Because poaching is no joke.

According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, 96 elephants are killed in Africa every day, mainly for their tusks. 100,000 elephants were poached between 2011 and 2014 alone.

Infographic by the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The "Ivory Crush" is a symbolic gesture. It won't make a big dent in the global ivory supply, and on its own, it won't stop poaching. But it's not designed to do either of those things.

The Ivory Crush is designed to send a message.

"When one country crushes ivory, another does. When one country says they're going to tighten their regulations, another does."
— Leigh Henry, senior policy advisor at the World Wildlife Fund

"China just announced they have the intention to close their domestic ivory market ... and they called out the U.S. to do the same," she told me. "I think some of it's competitive, It's just kind of human nature," Henry continued, "You don't want to be the first to give something up or the first to take the step. It's much easier to follow others."

#IvoryCrush is the *right* time to break out the elephant costume.

According to World Wildlife Fund officials, the global market for ivory is vast and complex, and motivations for buying ivory items vary greatly. For some, it's a status symbol. For others, owning a piece of ivory is a cultural signifier — a sign that you've made it. But perhaps most tragically, many people who buy ivory items don't fully understand what they're purchasing.

"Behind every piece of ivory is a dead elephant," Henry explained. "We find that a lot of people don't actually make that connection when they walk into a store to buy a piece of ivory. They don't understand that elephants have to be killed for that ivory."

Once the ivory is confiscated, it's off the market for good, and international law prevents it from ever being sold again. Destroying it does nothing to drive up the price, but ensures that if it somehow falls into the wrong hands, it's worthless.

Which is nice news for elephants. And elephants could really use some good news.


OK. I got it. You got it. This whole #IvoryCrush thing is good for the earth and good for elephants and happy and feely — all that jazz. Let's see some ivory get freaking pulverized.

You got it.

"OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG." — two-year-old you, probably.

"This machine is primarily for contractors doing recycling, demo, sand, and gravel rock," explained Tyler Trowbridge, territory manager for Powerscreen USA, the company that manufactures and operates the smashing machine.

"Stuff goes into what's called the hopper here..."

"...comes into the impact chamber — there's a big boulder in there spinning at 1800 rpm, and it's throwing the material against a steel apron that starts breaking the material..."

"...and then it spits it out."

"Normally it's [used to crush] boring recycled roads, recycled concrete, or rock," Trowbridge explained. "This isn't your typical application for us."

The U.S. government doesn't have a plan for what to do with all the crushed ivory yet.

Ride on, horse couple. Even though you have been crushed into little tiny bits, your spirit lives on.

It will remain in secure storage until they come up with something. But in the meantime, creative minds are working on ideas.

"Personally, I think it'd be really neat if they took all the pieces of ivory and made a statue of an elephant out of them," said Stephen Sautner, Executive Director of Communications for the Wildlife Conservation Society. "To represent all the elephants that have been killed."

Like this non-ivory elephant statue that I imagine it would look like:

Image by Cory Doctorow/Flickr.

I'd pay at least as much money as I would not pay for an ivory trinket to see that.

Image by 5540867 from Pixabay

Figuring out what to do for a mom on Mother's Day can be a tricky thing. There's the standard flowers or candy, of course, and taking her out to a nice brunch is a fairly universal winner. But what do moms really want?

Speaking from experience—my kids range from age 12 to 20—a lot depends on the stage of motherhood. What I wanted when my kids were little is different than what I want now, and I'm sure when my kids are grown and gone I'll want something different again.

We asked our readers to share what they want for Mother's Day, and while the answers were varied, there were some common themes that emerged.

Moms of young kids want a break.

When your kids are little, motherhood is relentless. Precious and adorable, yes. Wonderful and rewarding, absolutely. But it's a LOT. And it's a lot all the fricking time.

Most moms I know would love the gift of alone time, either away at a hotel or Airbnb or in their own home with no one else around. Time alone is a priceless commodity at this stage, especially if it comes with someone else taking care of cleaning, making sure the kids are fed and safe and occupied, doing the laundry, etc.

This is especially true after more than a year of pandemic living, where we moms have spent more time than usual at home with our offspring. While in some ways that's been great, again, it's a lot.

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Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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