Closing Asia’s Elephant Ivory Markets
Ivory Initiative Report: 2018-2022

In the past decade, about 20,000 elephants were killed each year in Africa - for their tusks to supply to consumer markets, primarily in East and Southeast Asia.

Currently, it is illegal to possess, sell or purchase elephant ivory in all Greater Mekong countries except Thailand, where it is illegal to carry ivory across the international border.

However, law enforcement is lax. Since the ban on elephant ivory sales was imposed in China in 2018, Southeast Asia has especially become the destination for ivory buyers. With the sale of ivory harvested from registered captive elephants still legal in Thailand, it allows for the travel and tourism sector to continue catering to the demand from travellers and the illicit trafficking across the borders.


What WWF is doing

WWF works to end both trade and consumption of elephant ivory in Asia by:

  • Collaborating with governments to ensure key policies and laws are enforced to close illegal trade in ivory
  • Providing training to wildlife enforcement agencies to better identify ivory products, implement existing regulations and dismantle transboundary trafficking networks
  • Tracking the availability of ivory and monitoring consumer trends in online and physical markets
  • Partnering with companies and associations in the travel and tourism sector to implement behaviour change campaigns targeting consumers, particularly travellers from mainland China