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Ivory Bandits

The elephant-ivory trade, which long ago should have ended, unfortunately is alive and well.

A 1989 UN treaty set a ban on the trade, but a new report by a conservation group called TRAFFIC (part of the World Wildlife Fund) found that thriving ivory markets in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Senegal remain largely unregulated. A lot of the ivory is arriving from other countries in social upheaval, such as Congo, where people are selling ivory to buy arms. And much of it ends up in China, where an economic boom is fueling demand.

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Conservationists say fewer than 550 elephants remain in those three African countries. Greater international attention, along with stronger laws and enforcement, is needed to help protect African elephants.