By Christopher Joyce
Almost a million elephants roamed Africa 25 years ago. Assessments of their population now vary, but suggest there are fewer than half that many. The main reason for the decline is ivory. Despite a 1989 ban on ivory trade, poachers continue to kill elephants for their tusks.
Now China, the destination for most of that ivory, has announced it will shut down its domestic ivory market.
Wildlife experts had thought that the international ban on ivory trade would slow or even stop the killing of elephants for their tusks. It didn’t…in fact the killing got worse. That’s mostly because the ban didn’t cover OLDER ivory, that is, ivory taken from elephants BEFORE the 1989 ban. So people are still killing elephants but passing off their ivory as old, and therefore legal to trade.
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