Ivory trade is a deeply polarised issue.

Before 1989’s international ban on ivory trade, elephant poaching was rampant and the trade in ivory out of control. African elephant numbers plummeted from an estimated 1.3 million in 1979 to 600,000 in 10 years.

A handful of countries did not agree with the ban and have since worked steadily to undermine and circumvent it.

The world has changed dramatically since 1989, with emerging political and economic super powers, particularly China, coming to the fore and driving demand for status goods and commodities; ivory features high on this list.

In recent years the world has witnessed a new onslaught on African elephant populations as well as on the more beleaguered Asian elephants, and the growing number of large ivory seizures points clearly to the involvement of transnational syndicates of highly organised international criminals.

Fulfilling an essential role in the protection of elephants and their habitats, EIA’s investigations have a proven track record of exposing the illegal ivory trade.