In DepthConservation Biology

Study takes sharp tusk to effort to legalize ivory trade

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Science  16 Sep 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6305, pp. 1196-1197
DOI: 10.1126/science.353.6305.1196

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Poachers have killed so many African elephants in recent years, the animals' continent-wide population is at its lowest point in a century. Would legally selling ivory help stop the decline and save the behemoths from extinction? That's what some southern African countries will propose at an upcoming international meeting on the trade in endangered species in Johannesburg, South Africa. But a virtual test of that provocative idea concludes that it's impossible to sustainably harvest elephants' tusks because the demand is far too great. Instead, these scientists say it's better to keep the ban and focus on eliminating the demand for ivory.