Stopping Illegal Poaching
International ivory trading has been banned since 1989 though the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species and Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Yet, African elephants continue to be poached for their ivory at alarming rates. It is estimated that as many as 50,000 elephants are slaughtered each year in Africa. To help stop the poaching, law enforcement officials need to know in which countries it is occurring.
Sam Wasser's research has indicated that since 2006, African ivory in large seizures has come mainly from elephants poached in two main regions. Focusing law enforcement efforts on these key areas could result in significant reductions in elephant poaching.
Other actions that would help conserve elephant populations include reducing the demand for ivory and protecting elephant habitats. The major market for elephant ivory is Asia, but some ivory is also imported in the United States. In June 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service instituted a near-total ban on the domestic commercial trade of African elephant ivory. These federal regulations substantially limit imports, exports and sales of African elephant ivory across state lines.