In the 1990s, elephant poaching was cut to a manageable level by a 1989 ban on ivory sales and strong national and international efforts, and rhinos got a break as well. In 2011, though, elephants had their worst year since that ban was enacted. The tusks of some 2,500 elephants were seized by customs and wildlife officers, and no one known how much smuggled ivory got through. One African park is losing 50 elephants a month, and South Africa reported a record 443 rhinos were killed in that country. Even when ivory is seized, the poachers and the ringleaders are almost never caught. Middlemen, like corrupt customs officers who sign false papers, are caught more often, but are easily replaced in poor nations - both in Africa where the shipments originate, and in Asia where almost all the illegal stuff is being shipped.
COMMENT: Too sad for words. To everyone: please DO NOT buy anything ivory unless it has a valid paper trail showing it's from mammoths or another legal source.