Elephants are the “keepers of the savannas and gardeners of the forest” and are one of the most intelligent and unique animals on the planet. Much like humans they have the ability to feel emotion and create kinship bonds with other elephants, so much so that they grieve over the deaths of other elephants (The Ivory Game). This is something that very few other animals have the capability of doing. Not only are they unique in their behavior, but also in the precious cargo they carry, known as ivory. A few hundred years ago millions of elephants roamed the sub- Saharan and the rainforest of Central and West Africa, but less than 400,000 African Elephants exist today. If poaching continues at its current rate the African Elephants are well on their way to becoming extinct. In the last 20 years there has been a serious increase in demand for ivory in Asia and in the Middle East, which has led to a serious poaching problem in Africa and an increase in black market activity across Asia.
Despite the international ban on trading ivory introduced in 1989 by CITES, (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) elephants are still being poached in large numbers. While the ban offered a temporary solution and the opportunity for some populations to recover, all of that was reversed in 1999 when CITES allowed Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to sell 50 tons of stockpiled ivory to Japan. This was supposed to be “one-time sale”, but China was granted the