EIA has been at the forefront of the global battle to stop the blood ivory trade for over 30 years. In 1989, EIA’s groundbreaking exposé revealed rampant elephant poaching and a booming global ivory trade, perpetrated by a network of criminals and corrupt officials in Africa and in importing nations. Our work provided key evidence that prompted the global community in 1989 to implement a ban on international commercial trade in elephant ivory. Following the implementation of the ban, elephant populations in Africa began to recover from serious decline. 

However, nations’ domestic ivory markets remained open and thriving. In 1999 and 2008, the 1989 ivory ban was seriously weakened by two legal international sales of ivory, one to Japan and a second to Japan and China. These market-stimulating sales, coupled with the changing economic and political situation in Asia, including the growth of China’s middle class, led us to the crisis that we face today.

Africa’s elephants are once again in the midst of a global poaching crisis with tens of thousands of elephants being slaughtered annually in a killing spree fueled by the global demand for ivory. EIA strives to eliminate illegal ivory trade and increase enforcement to protect elephants, both domestically and in range and consuming countries. EIA campaigns to enforce the international ivory ban and push for the closure of domestic ivory markets worldwide to protect elephants from the threat of ivory trade. Using every tool at our disposal, EIA is committed to ending the elephant poaching epidemic to protect elephants for generations to come.

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Still Open for Business

Japan is currently the world’s most significant open ivory market, but the government has the opportunity to change that status. EIA will continue to advocate for the end of all legal ivory trade, everywhere and at every level, in order to protect elephants.


National Ivory Action Plan Process

The National Ivory Action Plan (NIAP) process is an important elephant conservation tool and framework. While we commend the progress made so far, EIA provides a brief analysis and recommendations to address some concerns and effectively tackle ivory poaching and trafficking.