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By investigating and exposing ivory trade where it is found, EIA fights for stronger regulations to shut down all ivory trade, including at the domestic level, and increase protections for elephants.

Elephants in Crisis

EIA has been at the forefront of the global battle to halt the blood ivory trade for over 25 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 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 the crisis that we face today. Learn more about our work to stop Japan's ivory trade here.

Africa’s elephants are once again in crisis due to the explosive demand for ivory. 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 domestically and 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, in strong coalitions with like-minded non-government organizations, and with government and private partners, to fight 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.

Combating 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 like Japan 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 have campaigned to pressure major ivory retailers, like Yahoo! Japan and Rakuten in Japan, to ban ivory product sales. At home in the United States, we support the government’s efforts to combat wildlife trafficking.

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.

Objectives

  • Ensure a secure long-term future for Africa’s wild elephant populations
  • Close down all ivory markets, domestic and international
  • End elephant poaching and trafficking of elephant products

Recent Blog Posts

Room for Improvement: Using DNA Analysis to Address Rhino Horn Trafficking
09/22/2021
Law enforcement officials from around the world have seized illegal supplies of rhino horn at least once a week on average for the past 10 years. The type of seizure ranges widely. It could be a pair of fresh horns confiscated from poachers who just gunned down a rhino inside a national park. Or possibly dozens of horns were discovered cleverly hidden in an air cargo shipment. Sometime it’s just a few grams of powdered horn found in a traveler’s luggage. Maybe a mix of raw and carved horns was seized after a police raid on a trafficker’s home.
Still Waiting for Action: Tokyo's Ivory Trade Assessment
08/11/2021
The reality of the scope and impact of COVID-19 hit home for much of the world when the Tokyo 2020 Games were postponed. A year later and looking far different than ever expected or hoped, the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games finally arrived. As the host of the 2020 Games, Tokyo has come under increased scrutiny for its legal market for elephant ivory. Even as the Games were underway, the influential capital city faced mounting international pressure to close its legal ivory market for good. For World Elephant Day 2021, in between the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, we take a look at where Tokyo stands in doing its part to protect the world's elephants from the threats of ivory trade and poaching. 

Recent Reports

Letter: NGO Appeal to the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games
06/25/2021
: EIA, JTEF, and HSI appeal to the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee President and Governor of Tokyo to take action to prevent illegal trade and export of elephant ivory products
NGO Appeal to Tokyo for Urgent Measures on Ivory
02/18/2021
EIA and 25 international non-government environmental and conservation organizations sent a letter February 18, 2021 to follow up on a previous appeal from March 2020. Our organizations encourage the closure of Tokyo's ivory market and also recommend some actions the Tokyo Metropolitan Government should take before the ivory market can be closed, including during the rescheduled 2020 Olympic Games. The letter can be viewed in English and Japanese.

Recent Press Releases

Tokyo Fumbles Short-Term Ivory Trade Action
06/25/2021
Conservation, environmental and animal welfare groups bemoaned measures announced today by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to address Tokyo’s illegal ivory trade as a missed opportunity. Tokyo’s short-term plan is focused only on consumer awareness and falls dramatically short of expectations for substantive action, instead replicating previous failed awareness efforts by Japan’s national government.
Japanese Retailers Willing to Sell Ivory Hanko for Illegal Export
12/17/2020
Investigations of Japanese hanko retailers revealed that many are willing to sell an ivory product knowing that it will be exported internationally despite most being aware that ivory export is illegal.
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