Ivory is a smooth material that can be found in the tusks of mammals. Elephants, walruses, hippos and whales are the primary sources of ivory. Because it is so (0) VALUABLE (VALUE) and expensive, ivory has been traded around the world for centuries. Egyptian sculptors carved ivory objects for their pharaoh. Ancient Greeks and Romans used ivory to create art, religious objects and (1) ............ (JEWEL). Even large statues were made of ivory. The ancient Chinese got ivory from (2) ............ (TRADE) who brought it from India and Southeast Asia. For many centuries it was used as a currency. At first, people used ivory from Asian elephants but then saw that the ivory of African elephants could be carved more (3) ............ (EASY). Merchants started moving in on Africa and the ivory trade started to boom. Before the invention of plastic, ivory was used to make objects of everyday life, like knife handles, piano keys, combs and billiard balls. The best-known form of ivory is in an elephant's tusks. Such a tusk can grow to a (4) ............ (LONG) of over 3 metres and weigh up to a hundred kilograms. The outside of a tusk is often dark, whereas the inside is white or cream-coloured. Ivory is a hard material that can be formed into various shapes. In many countries, handicrafts and souvenirs are made from ivory. Ivory is also preserved in the tundra of Siberia, northern Canada and other (5) ............ (POLE) regions where prehistoric mammoths roamed the land thousands of years ago. Some of the tusks are larger than the tusks of mammals that exist today. However, such fossil ivory is harder to carve. Today. trading ivory from elephants and other (6) ............ (DANGER) animals is illegal. During the 20th century, large parts of the elephant population were reduced because of the ivory trade. The poached ivory is smuggled out of the country and sold at a very high price. Since the end of the 20th century (7) ............ (GOVERN) of African and Asian countries have focused on capturing poachers and clamping down on criminal trading rings. Tons of ivory are seized by authorities every year. In the last few years, these actions have stabilized the elephant population. Some countries have put elephants into reserves, where they can be (8) ............ (CLOSE) monitored.