The Ivory Trade And Its Effect On The Trade

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Throughout the course of history, humans have long used the exchange of goods as a way to socially interact and provide for themselves. Trading is a cornerstone of modern society and it is how materials and objects can be transferred around the world. The ivory trade is a practice that has been in place for centuries. In the last one to two hundred years, the negative impacts of the trade have begun to surface. The elephant populations, specifically in Africa, are rapidly declining with the illegal trade taking place today. The ban on the ivory trade was put into place in order to save the elephant populations and reduce the harmful environmental impacts. The use of international law in the creation of the ban on the trade and the current…show more content…
In the 19th century, most of the elephants in Southern Africa were wiped out, and then a large reduction of the animals in West Africa took place by the end of the 20th century. These huge reductions in the elephant populations meant that ivory was becoming scarcer. In the first half of the 20th century, the world was ravaged by large wars including both of the World Wars. The trade slowed a great deal, until the economic prosperity in the 1960s and 1970s sparked a new emergence of ivory demand (Underwood 8). Reports show that in the beginning of the 1970s, Japan was the largest global consumer of ivory, with about 40% consumption. Europe and North America were the next largest consumers, with another 40% being split between them (Underwood 8). An analysis of the trade shows that around this time, the elephant populations were under great stress. African elephants were at their lowest numbers ever, and they continued to decline with no real international efforts to stop the trade. While ivory may have been an important commodity in the world, the impacts that the trade had on the elephants and their environments was devastating. If the ivory trade was so significant back in the middle of the 20th century, then what changed in order to result in a ban on it? The international community brought attention to this issue and began to implement international law with the introduction of CITES, or the Convention on International Trade

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