Back in April, we talked about the ivory trade, and the ban on ivory sales in 1990, intended to collapse the market. In the October issue of National Geographic- October being known primarily for coming after April- there's an article by Bryan Christy that details how things have gone since then.
It's been tough. The ban hasn't stopped poachers from shooting elephants anyway, and it hasn't prevented buyers from claiming post-ban ivory is pre-ban ivory. Still, things did die down a bit... until a one-time approved sale was made to Japan in 1999. Now that there was new, post-ban, legal ivory on the market, somewhere, anywhere, that caused things to quickly spiral downward. Japan immediately wanted the one-time sale to become a more-time sale. And then China, many citizens of which were now under the mistaken impression that the ivory ban was now over, started flashing its bankroll. And poachers were more than happy to come out of the woodwork to sell them all the ivory they wanted, even if their own request to buy ivory legally was shot down in 2005, on the grounds that they were the single largest cause of the ivory trade spiraling back out of control.
And then another request by China got approved in 2008. So that's two post-ban ivory sales, one of which was to a country that largely didn't think there was an ivory ban anymore and had even less reason to think so now. And all the illegal ivory now has ample amounts of cover. Essentially, all the hard work by the people trying to stop the ivory trade went right down the drain, possibly for keeps, and it's China and Japan's fault.
What does this have to do with Tanzania? Guess who'd like to make a third sale. To China and Japan. Also they would like to take elephants off the endangered species list.
Not really a fun day running the RNG, that.
If it's any consolation, here's a clip from Pawn Stars: