On Monday, eBay announced that it will ban all online auctions of elephant ivory beginning in January. The decision came partly in response to a new investigation conducted by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, which found numerous examples of legally dubious ivory sales on the auction site. IFAW argues that in online sales it's impossible to distinguish between legal ivory (antique pieces that predate strict trade treaties on endangered species) and modern, illicit ivory harvested by poachers.
While conservation groups are delighted by eBay's resolution, IFAW's investigation found evidence of online trafficking in many other critically endangered species, suggesting that the eBay victory was just the first skirmish in what will be a long, drawn-out fight.
Text: Eliza Strickland
Image: IFAW/D. Willetts