Elephants

For 25 years, EIA has been at the forefront of the global battle to halt the blood ivory trade

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 to implement a ban on international trade in elephant ivory.

Following the implementation of the ban, elephant populations in Africa began to recover from serious decline.

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 where we are today.

Africa’s elephants are once again in crisis due to the explosive demand for ivory as an investment commodity from consumers in China, as well as other countries including Japan and even the United States. African elephants are undeniably in the midst of another poaching crisis—tens of thousands of elephants are be slaughtered annually in a killing spree fueled by the global demand for ivory.

Our Approach
EIA strives to eliminate illegal ivory trade and increase enforcement to protect elephants, both internationally, as well as in range and consuming countries. Using every tool at our disposal, EIA is committed to ending the elephant poaching epidemic.

EIA’s investigations trace and expose the illegal ivory trade—we track elephant poaching in Africa, monitor transit activity, and reveal the illegal markets and flawed legal systems that sustain black market trade in consumer countries. Using our investigative evidence, we campaign for positive change in legislation and policies to close loopholes that facilitate ivory laundering and to increase penalties for poachers and ivory traders.

We work independently as well as in strong coalitions with like-minded non-government organizations as well as government and private partners, fighting for precautionary policies in the international and domestic arenas.

EIA’s investigations into the illegal ivory trade have demonstrated repeatedly that any trade in ivory is incompatible with the conservation of elephants. We are firm in our resolve to combat all trade in elephant ivory: illegal and legal, international and domestic.

Combatting the Ivory Trade
Internationally, we champion a full and complete ban on all international trade in ivory, with no exceptions. We campaign for elephant range states and ivory consumer nations to ban existing legal domestic ivory trade and crack down on poachers and organized criminals by enacting and enforcing tough laws and regulations. To complement this work, we pressure ivory product retailers in countries like Japan to ban ivory product sales.

At home in the United States, we fully support the government’s efforts to combat wildlife trafficking, including working towards a nearly complete domestic ban on ivory trade and treating wildlife as a serious crime.

Elephants are the heart and soul of EIA’s wildlife campaign and protecting these majestic, iconic, and ecologically important species from the dangers of trade is at the top of EIA’s agenda.