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Amid growing calls for an outright ban, the European Union is coming under increasing pressure to help protect African elephants by ending the trade of ivory within its borders.
Poaching has decimated the world elephant population, which slumped in Africa from several million at the turn of the 19th Century to around 400,000 in 2015.
Conservation - Group - WWF - Percent - Deaths
According to conservation group WWF, as much as 60 percent of all elephant deaths can be blamed on poaching.
The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, which campaigns against the ivory trade, says that from 2007-2014, 144,000 elephants were killed across Africa—the equivalent of one death every 15 minutes.
Trade - Ivory
The international trade of ivory was officially banned in 1989.
The United States outlawed domestic trade in 2016, with China following suit a year later.
Markets - EU - Japan - Bans
But several other markets, including the EU and Japan, have no such internal bans.
Ivory and the plight of African elephants is a hot-button issue this week at the CITES conference on trade in endangered species, featuring representatives from more than 180 nations in Geneva.
Nine - Countries—Burkina - Faso - Ivory - Coast
Nine countries—Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria and Syria—issued a proposal to the conference calling for all nations to close "all remaining domestic ivory markets as a matter of urgency".
The measure will be voted on and would pass with a two-thirds majority.
Ivory - Markets - Opportunities - Ivory - Presents
They said that maintaining domestic ivory markets "creates opportunities for laundering illegally obtained ivory, presents monitoring and enforcement challenges... and undermines ivory bans in other countries."
EU - Theory - Rules - Ivory - Sales
The EU currently has, at least in theory, stringent rules on ivory sales within its borders.
It's illegal to export elephant tusks out of the EU, and only objects dated before 1947 can be bought...
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