Field note from CITES CoP 17 on elephants and the ivory trade

Sebastien Korwin, Keith Lindsay, Rosalind Reeve


CITES CoP17 marked a key point in its history, both for elephants and in the CoP’s ability to address domestic trade. Considered together, the decisions taken represent a recognition that a legal ivory trade is the primary threat to elephant populations across the continent. While measures are still needed to close loopholes, the CoP17 decisions, including increased international cooperation in law enforcement to fight wildlife crime and a strengthened compliance process on ivory trade through NIAPs, mark a large step towards safeguarding elephant populations and the ecosystems of which they are part.


African elephant; CITES; ivory trade; conservation policy, legsilation and enforcement

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