As one of the largest ivory markets, China has put a halt to the trade. All ivory trade and processing activities were stopped on the last day of 2017. Along with earlier measures to crack down on ivory trade in China, the price has declined in the country, from a peak of 2,100 US dollars per kilogram in 2013 to 730 US dollars per kilogram earlier this year.
The crisis is too big for any one organization or government to resolve alone. Other major markets have issued bans or are considering doing so.
While the will seems unanimous, there are still loopholes when it comes to enforcing the law. Zhou Fei, head of the Traffic China Program, said much of the trade has moved onto social media, making sales more difficult to stop. In addition, law enforcement capabilities lag in many African and Asian countries, compromising the effort to ban ivory products.
The biggest hurdle is with consumers. Chinese who travel overseas can still purchase ivory items even after the ban.
"Ivory should be rebranded as socially unacceptable, uncool, and unfashionable. This is the way to change consumer behavior," Zhou said.