Efforts to reduce elephant poaching for their ivory tusks have not been successful. 2011 set a record for ivory seizures, mostly due to high demand in Asia. The ivory trade was banned in 1989, but smugglers have gotten wise to efforts to curb their activities by changing routes and evading customs officials. Despite record seizures of ivory, the smugglers generally evade being punished for their crimes.
There have been 13 seizures of large ivory shipments over 2000 pounds in 2011, where 2010 only saw 6 such incidents. The wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC called 2012 the “Annus Horriblis” for elephants. For more on the elephant ivory trade and their efforts to help stop it, check out their website.