Next Monday, the multinational conference that banned the ivory trade in 1989 reconvenes in Japan, and several African nations are asking that the moratorium be eased.

The New York Zoological Society, urging that the ivory ban must not be allowed to lapse, says poaching has dropped and the price of ivory on the black market has plummeted since the ivory trade ban was adopted in 1989. African exports of raw ivory fell from 1,000 tons in 1983 to well under 100 tons in 1989.

In the past decade, the African elephant population has dropped 50 percent to about 600,000. The rate of decline has slowed since the ivory ban.

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