ENVIRONMENT

Global efforts against ivory traffickers still fall short

  • An activist, with an elephant motive made up on his face, marches to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, (CITES) in Sandton, Johannesburg, Saturday, Sept 24, 2016. Conservationists say poaching syndicates moved large shipments of elephant ivory in 2015, despite increasing calls to dismantle trafficking networks that often collude with government officials. A document released by conference organizers says the illegal ivory trade "has remained fairly constant at unacceptably high levels" since 2010. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

    An activist, with an elephant motive made up on his face, marches to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, (CITES) in Sandton, Johannesburg, Saturday, Sept 24, 2016. Conservationists say poaching syndicates moved large shipments of elephant ivory in 2015, despite increasing calls to dismantle trafficking networks that often collude with government officials. A document released by conference organizers says the illegal ivory trade "has remained fairly constant at unacceptably high levels" since 2010. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Thursday, June, 2, 2016 file photo, a Zimbabwe National Parks official holds an elephant task during a tour of the country's ivory stockpile at the Zimbabwe National Parks Headquarters in Harare. Africa is divided over how to conserve elephants whose population has plummeted in the last decade.Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa favour selling ivory stockpiles but are opposed by about 30 African countries that want to tighten an international ban on the ivory trade. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, file)

    FILE - In this Thursday, June, 2, 2016 file photo, a Zimbabwe National Parks official holds an elephant task during a tour of the country's ivory stockpile at the Zimbabwe National Parks Headquarters in Harare. Africa is divided over how to conserve elephants whose population has plummeted in the last decade.Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa favour selling ivory stockpiles but are opposed by about 30 African countries that want to tighten an international ban on the ivory trade. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, file)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Thursday, June, 2, 2016 file photo, a  Zimbabwe National Parks official is seen inspecting the country's ivory stockpile at the Zimbabwe National Parks Headquarters in Harare, Zimbabwe. Africa is divided over how to conserve elephants whose population has plummeted in the last decade. Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa favour selling ivory stockpiles but are opposed by about 30 African countries that want to tighten an international ban on the ivory trade. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazh, file)

    FILE - In this Thursday, June, 2, 2016 file photo, a Zimbabwe National Parks official is seen inspecting the country's ivory stockpile at the Zimbabwe National Parks Headquarters in Harare, Zimbabwe. Africa is divided over how to conserve elephants whose population has plummeted in the last decade. Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa favour selling ivory stockpiles but are opposed by about 30 African countries that want to tighten an international ban on the ivory trade. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazh, file)  (The Associated Press)

Conservationists at an international wildlife meeting in South Africa say poaching syndicates moved large shipments of elephant ivory in 2015, despite increasing calls to dismantle trafficking networks that often collude with government officials.

A document released by conference organizers on Saturday says the illegal ivory trade "has remained fairly constant at unacceptably high levels" since 2010.

Tom Milliken, a report co-author, estimates that there are about 50 ivory seizures of more than half a ton, and sometimes as many as four tons, every year. Milliken says such big shipments are a sign that organized crime groups are involved in poaching.

The meeting of member nations of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, started Saturday.