Between 1970 and 1989, African elephant populations were decimated as legal “regulated” trade in ivory enabled the laundering of illegal ivory from poached elephants. In 1989, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) abandoned attempts at regulation and passed a ban on the international ivory trade. Though the 1989 ban was initially a great success — cutting ivory prices overnight, reducing poaching and allowing elephant populations a chance to recover — such progress sadly was short-lived. The growth of newly affluent markets in Asia, predominantly in China, coupled with “one-off” sales of African ivory stockpiles in 1999 (to Japan) and in 2008 (China and Japan), allowed illegal markets to flourish, particularly in China. Corruption, poor enforcement and a lack of prosecutions have further contributed to the crisis.