The ivory trade, beginning in Roman times and continuing with the European coloni-zation of Africa, significantly reduced the elephant’s range by the turn of the last century.
The legal and illegal hunting of elephants continued throughout the 20th century. By 1979, the elephant population of Africa was around 1.3 million, but by the end of the 1980s it had been cut in half.
1.3 MILLIONto 600,000
Today, elephants exist in only isolated pockets—confined mostly to protected lands. The international ban on ivory has helped, but recent trends suggest a new surge in elephant poaching has begun.