Ban ivory trade to conserve elephants

Despite a ban on international trading of ivory by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) 1989, poaching of elephants for their ivory has intensified in both Africa and Asia. African elephant (Loxodonta spp.) populations have declined by 72%, from a population of 1.3 million in 1979 to around 350,000 today. Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) populations have suffered similar fates, having been reduced by 50% in the last 60 years.  Radiocarbon and DNA analysis of seized ivory show that most poached ivory is from newly killed elephants from specific areas. Despite the global decline in elephant populations, the Government of Nepal celebrated its fourth consecutive “zero poaching” year. Nepal’s zero poaching strategy has been very effective as argued by Achyut Aryal and his team. They suggest that making ivory trade illegal through a complete ban on trading of ivory, supported by strict legislation that includes significant fines and incarceration for poachers, traders and officials.

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