Over the last 30 years African elephants have declined to about 35% of their original population. There are fewer than 500,000 elephants in Africa today.
But two countries, Tanzania and Zambia, want global permission to encourage more elephant poaching. From Time magazine:
In the 1980s, at least 700,000 elephants, and possibly as many as 1 million, were slaughtered throughout Africa, killed by hunters and poachers for their ivory tusks, which would be made into jewelry. [...]
The ivory wars continued until 1989, when countries at the global Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) voted to ban all trade in elephant ivory. With trade choked off, demand for ivory plummeted; African governments, with Western aid, cracked down on remaining poachers. Elephant populations in Africa began to rebound slowly. [...]
But today the African elephant stands on a precipice once again. The nations of Tanzania and Zambia are petitioning CITES, which begins a major meeting in Doha on March 13, to “downlist” the conservation status of elephants so that they can sell stockpiled ivory on the open market
Read more here>>
(Thanks to Mimi for the link.)