Southern African Countries Are Trying—Again—to Legalize Elephant Ivory Sales
Proposals by Namibia and Zimbabwe to revive a global ivory trade promises a rematch of a battle fought 27 years ago.
Today is World Elephant Day, but it isn't necessarily good news for Africa’s elephants: Pressure is mounting in southern Africa to lift the ban on the sale of ivory.
In the mid-1980s, during the last great elephant poaching crisis, Africa lost nearly half its elephant population, roughly 600,000 animals, in a decade. But the world responded in 1989 with a global ban on the international ivory trade, and for a while elephants in many parts of Africa recovered.
Today the poaching crisis has returned, owing largely to demand for ivory in Asia, where it’s carved into statues, bangles, and chopsticks. Roughly 30,000 elephants are killed every year by poachers, an unsustainable number that doesn’t take into account the incredible violence and