We need your help saving elephants from extinction, so we keep you up-to-date on the latest news to curb demand for ivory and protect elephants from poaching. Elephant ivory is valued because its texture, softness, warmth, and lack of a tough outer enamel coating made it ideal for carving since Greek and Roman times. Ivory carving in China goes back to the 14th to early 20th centuries when its main consumers were imperial court and elite scholar-officials.

In 2018, China banned all trade in ivory and ivory products in the country. According to Iain Douglas-Hamilton, one of the world’s leading elephant experts and founder of Save the Elephants, China’s ban “is one of the most important things that has happened to elephants in the last ten years.”

The Chinese government is to be applauded for this move, but the ban hasn’t changed the hearts of many Chinese ivory seekers. Chinese consumers who can no longer buy it in China seek it elsewhere. Chinese-run businesses supply Chinese consumers with African Ivory in a region called “The Golden Triangle” which covers Burma, Thailand, and Laos, with Chinese tourists buying up to 80 percent of the ivory sold in Laos. Vietnam and Cambodia are also involved in this illegal trade.

Other countries have yet to ban the sale of ivory. According to WildAid’s Peter Knights, CEO, "’Britain is dragging its feet’ and Japan is the only major consumer still unwilling to join the global effort.” In May 2018, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Authority reversed the Obama administration’s ban on trophy-hunting imports from Zimbabwe and Zambia in an unclear ruling mired down in a legal fight between hunters and conservationists. In a March 2018 Smithsonian article, Jimmiel Mandima, a conservationist at the nonprofit African Wildlife Foundation, said he does not see the new policy as a wholesale revocation of the ban. Mandima says conservationists have many unanswered questions about the new measures. Poaching decreased slightly in the past five years, according to research for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and stronger law enforcement efforts have pushed ivory seizures to a record high. But the total number of elephants in Africa is still declining because illegal killings that support continued demand for ivory.

We cannot let up. California finally banned the sale of ivory in 2016, along with New Jersey, Washington, and New York. You can help. Donate to Africa Hope Fund so we can continue to help protect elephants and other wildlife in Zambia. If you live in a state where ivory sales are still permitted, write your legislators and help start a movement in your state to ban ivory. Protest elephants in captivity in the United States that are kept isolated, restricted, and used for entertainment. If they can’t go home, they should live in sanctuaries with other elephants. Thank you for encouraging us and supporting us. If you want to see elephants and more in Zambia yourself, join us on our next safari. For more, go to

Written by Patricia Cole

An Africa Hope Fund board member for 7 years, Pat is a writer and a conservation activist. After traveling to Zambia, she became dedicated to helping Africa Hope Fund provide education to the next generation of Africans and ensure their future by protecting wildlife. Find Patricia on Facebook and Twitter, or on her websites and

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Carol Van Brugen