The international ban on ivory sales and its effects on elephant poaching in Africa

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) secured an agreement in 1989 among its member states to ban the international trade in ivory. This disruption of the international ivory market was intended to reverse a sharp decline in the African elephant population, which resulted from widespread poaching for ivory in the previous decade. The continent's overall population of elephants increased after the ban, but an analysis of elephant population data from 1979 to 2007 found that some of the 37 countries in Africa with elephants continued to lose substantial numbers of them. This pattern is largely explained by the presence of unregulated domestic ivory markets in and near countries with declines in elephant populations.

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