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Abstract

This Note argues that a near-complete ban in ivory trade not only raises difficult domestic legal issues, but also does little to stop elephant poaching in Africa. Further, enacting a similar ban in China is not only unrealistic, but also would increase the illegal trade and, therefore, the slaughter of elephants in Africa. Part I explains the history of illegal ivory trade and describes the current legal environments in the United States and China. Part II presents the domestic legal and policy implications of an ivory ban, and analyzes the potential difficulties with implementing a similar ban in China. Part III argues that while the United States should stringently regulate the domestic ivory market, a near-complete ban is unreasonable. Further, a similar ban in China is not a practical solution; Chinese officials must consider strategies to optimize existing laws and gain public support.

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