Some time ago i made a comment on this very subject. I am not sure whether it was my answer to a newspaper report or on twitter. My comment went something like the following. Is there any other material which could be used that looked and felt like ivory, for artists to create their carved work as they do on real ivory, which in turn would hopefully stop all this illegal poaching and the suffering of these poor elephants.
Now someone is at last working on this very same subject.