In 1930, there were between five and ten million wild African elephants; by 1990, when they were added to the list of critically endangered species, only about 600,000 remained1. As part of the effort to combat this threat, in 1986, ivory trading was banned by the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). By the mid-1990s, the population of African elephants was rising by an average of 4.5% a year, however by 2009 the trend had again been reversed and the population stood at around 500,000. Asian elephants have fared just as badly, there numbers have dropped from 200,000 a century ago to around 40,000 today1.
During the '90s, when elephant populations were increasing, CITES allowed Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia to sell ivory stockpiled by their governments' environmental agencies to Japan, the centre of international demand for ivory, as a one-off measure. In 2000 South Africa and other southern African states argued unsuccessfully at the CITES convention in Nairobi for the ban on ivory sales to be more generally relaxed. In 2008, CITE temporarily lifted the ban on the sale of existing stockpiles of ivory, generating much-needed income for African states2.
Brones, A. (2010, March 15). UN Ban on Ivory Threatened: Take Action to Protect Endangered Elephants. Retrieved August 3, 2011, from Huffington Post: Browne, P. (2009, August 25). Amid Legal Ivory Trade, Illegal Sales Grow. Retrieved August 2, 2011, from New York Times: Christo, C., & Wilkinson, M. (2011, July 27). Among necessary giants: why we can't afford to lose the elephant. Retrieved August 3, 2011, from The Ecologist: Karongo, C. (2011, July 19). Laws fail to deter poachers. Retrieved August 3, 2011, from Capital FM News:Kwayera, J. (2011, July 30). Countries gear up for conservation talks. Retrieved August 3, 2011, from The Standard: Mushawevato, P. (2011, February 5). Zimbabwe Ivory Stockpile Grows Amid Sale Ban. Retrieved August 3, 2011, from Trade Africa:Scientific American. (2009, April 9). Are Elephant Populations Stable These Days? Retrieved August 2, 2011, from Scientific American: Sharma, M. (2011, June 8). Wild elephants on rampage in Mysore city, one killed. Retrieved August 3, 2011, from NDTV: Travers, W. (2011, 11 July). Words That Don't Fail the Elephant. Retrieved August 3, 2011, from Huffington Post: Vera, E. B. (2011, June 20). Campaign vs ivory trade intensified. Retrieved August 2, 2011, from Manila Bulletin: Wilton, P. (2011, June 28). Elephant numbers halved. Retrieved August 2, 2011, from Physorg: