The international trade in wild animals and plants is worth billions of dollars every year. Levels of exploitation and rates of wild capture can have a serious detrimental impact on the future survival of thousands of animal and plant species across the globe. In 1979 there were an estimated 1.3 million African elephants. A decade later, widespread poaching had reduced that figure by more than half. Just 600,000 African elephants remained. In 1989, a worldwide ban on ivory trade was approved by CITES. Levels of poaching fell dramatically, and black market prices of ivory slumped.
CITES had saved the African elephant. Or had it? In July 2012 CITES recognised that elephant poaching had reached ‘unsustainable’ levels, not only in small unprotected populations but also among larger populations traditionally regarded as safe. The Born Free Foundation has set up a petition to enable you to show your support to stop illegal ivory being smuggled out of Africa and to improve protection for elephants.