Global ivory market prices since the 1989 CITES ban

Aug 7, 2019 | Studies

By Monique C. Sosnowski, Toby G. Knowles, Taro Takahashi  & Nicola J. Rooney – Biological Conservation


Poaching associated with the ivory trade is estimated to cause an 8% annual loss in the world elephant population. Although international trade in ivory was banned by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species in 1989, elephant populations continue to suffer. Together with global price data on ivory transactions, information on ivory product type, weight, region, legality of sale, and year of transaction, were used alongside an ivory Transaction Index (TI) and world gold price to: (1) examine the temporal and geographic trends in ivory price; (2) determine variables associated with ivory price; and (3) propose a predictive equation based on these variables. Results indicate that ivory price has been rising since the CITES ban, with highest values observed across Asia. Determinants significant to ivory market price include: (1) region; (2) type [raw, polished, carved]; (3) TI; and (4) legality. Interaction effects were present between region and legality, and between region and type. The predictive equation successfully explained 72.5% of variation in price. It is hoped that an improved understanding of the market mechanism will lead to more effective policy interventions, which can ensure a secure future for elephants as a species.



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