The Trade in Elephants Ivory

The Trade in Elephants Ivory

The Trade in Elephants Ivory

Every year, tens of thousands of elephants are brutally killed for their ivory. Between 2008 and 2013, the estimated death toll ranged between 30,000 and 50,000 elephants per year. The slaughter is horrifying;the trade in elephants ivory employs and arms poachers, who in turn target entire herds of elephants, shooting them with automatic weapons and hacking off their tusks with axes and chainsaws.

These tusks are fed into the illegal international ivory trade which is controlled by highly organised criminal syndicates. This industry feeds demand for ivory products in Asia, Europe, USA and elsewhere, which continues to bankroll elephants’ destruction. Legal international sales of ivory in 1999 and 2008 added to the demand but also caused confusion among consumers (‘is ivory legal or not?’) and provided an avenue for criminals to launder illegal ivory into the black-market.

Tragically the ivory trade has a long and bloody history. Born Free helped ensure the first international ivory ban in 1989 and since then has campaigned tirelessly against attempts to reopen international trade as well as to bring an end to all domestic and legal trade. Born Free also investigates poaching, exposes illegal ivory smuggling and together with the SSN¹ Elephant Working Group works to increase protection for elephants from trade. Just how long will elephants survive before their population can no longer sustain itself.


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