Australia will soon ban the domestic trade in elephant ivory and rhino horn. The country’s delegates announced the decision at the ongoing 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP18) in Geneva.
Asian elephants and most populations of African elephants are listed on Appendix I of CITES, which prohibits all global trade in the mammals and their products. The ban, however, does not apply to domestic trade. Many countries that are party to CITES have allowed their domestic ivory markets to operate as long as the ivory was imported or acquired before the species were listed in CITES. However, some conservation groups and experts have warned that these legal domestic markets end up serving as conduits for illegal ivory to be passed off as antiques, perpetuating demand for ivory, which then leads to more elephant poaching.