Hundreds of Nations Call for an End to the Ivory Trade

As the debate surrounding how to stop the poaching crisis that threatens the future survival of Africa’s iconic elephants continues, hundreds of nations have come together for a landmark vote to end the global trade in ivory.

At the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress in Hawaii, which ended over the weekend, a majority of the 217 member countries voted to pass a motion banning all domestic ivory markets.

While the motion isn’t legally binding, it “urges the governments of countries in which there is a legal domestic market for elephant ivory, or any domestic commerce in elephant ivory, to make all necessary legislative and regulatory efforts to close their domestic markets for commercial trade in raw or worked elephant ivory.”

The move was also backed by hundreds of conservation organizations that have been working to protect elephants.

“Today’s vote by IUCN members is the first time that a major international body has called on every country in the world to close its legal markets for elephant ivory,” said Andrew Wetzler, deputy chief program officer at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

For elephants, a global shift towards ending the trade in ivory can’t come soon enough. Unfortunately, the demand has led to the continued and tragic decimation of elephant populations as more continue to be slaughtered for nothing more than their tusks.

According to the results of the Great Elephant Census, savannah elephants have declined by 30 percent over just the past seven years, which is the equivalent of 144,000 lost lives, while other studies of forest elephants have found a similarly shocking decline. The most recent study concluded it will take forest elephants 100 years to recover from the losses they’ve sustained.

Some have continued to argue that keeping a legal trade alive and putting ivory from stockpiles back on the market and carefully regulating sales will help save elephants by meeting the demand and raising funds to support conservation, but arguments against doing this are much stronger.

Opponents believe this will only continue to fuel the trade and provide a cover for ivory from poached elephants. They believe the only way to save elephants is to shut down the market entirely. Now, it looks like that goal is closer to becoming a reality.

“The shutting down of domestic ivory markets will send a clear signal to traffickers and organized criminal syndicates that ivory is worthless and will no longer support their criminal activities causing security problems in local communities and wiping out wildlife. Critically, closing domestic markets will also prevent the selling of illegal ivory under the cover of a legal trade, making it much easier for law enforcement agencies to do their jobs and much harder for the syndicates to profit from their nefarious trade,” said the Wildlife Conservation Society’s President and CEO Cristian Samper.

Now let’s hope that the same message will be reiterated at the upcoming 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP17) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which will start later this month in Johannesburg, where a binding decision on the trade ivory can be made by members.

Advocates for elephants and rhinos, who are also being poached for their horns, will be keeping the pressure on to support that message at the next Global March for Elephants and Rhinos, which will take place this year on the opening day of CoP17 on September 24.


Please sign and share the petition urging member countries of CITES to take a stand for elephants by closing domestic ivory markets, and taking other measures that will give elephants the highest level of protection possible.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Glennis W
Glennis W4 months ago

So horrible and sickening This is so sickening and horrible . Thank you for caring and sharing

Glennis W
Glennis W4 months ago

So deplorable and sickening No more ivory . Thank you for caring and sharing

Glennis W
Glennis W4 months ago

Petition signed and shared. Must be stopped. . Thank you for caring and sharing

Melania Padilla
Melania Pabout a year ago

This is enough! Punish Chinese!

Marie W.
Marie Wabout a year ago

Ban China.

Angela K.
Angela Kabout a year ago

petition signed & shared

angel l.
Angela Labout a year ago

If only humans have a brain. People who wear animal skin or use ivory product are actually the killer. They promote killing for poachers, again, consumers have a choice, only if they have a functional brain to choose the correct path of life.

Past Member about a year ago

If you want to help Elephants, please send a personal message to EU Environment Commissioner to shut down the Ivory Sales.

From Avaaz website full details here:

Thank you.

Larry McDaniel
Larry McDanielabout a year ago

Thank you

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallusabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.