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Softer ivory from East Africa and southern Africa was traded for souvenirs, jewelry and trinkets.
By the 1970s, Japan consumed about 40% of the global trade; another 40% was consumed by Europe and North America, often worked in Hong Kong, which was the largest trade hub, with most of the rest remaining in Africa.
About 80% of this was estimated to come from illegally killed elephants.
The international deliberations over the measures required to prevent the serious decline in elephant numbers almost always ignored the loss of human life in Africa, the fueling of corruption, the "currency" of ivory in buying arms, and the breakdown of law and order in areas where illegal ivory trade flourished.
Further failures of this "control" system were uncovered by the EIA when they gained undercover access and filmed ivory carving factories run by Hong Kong traders, including Poon, in the United Arab Emirates.
They also collected official trade statistics, airway bills and further evidence in UAE, Singapore and Hong Kong.
CITES had created a system which increased the value of ivory on the international market, rewarded international smugglers and gave them the ability to control the trade and continue smuggling new ivory.
These controls were supported by most CITES parties as well as the ivory trade and the established conservation movement represented by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Traffic and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
In 19, CITES registered 89.5 and 297 tonnes of ivory in Burundi and Singapore respectively.
Burundi had one known live wild elephant and Singapore had none.
The stockpiles were recognized to have largely come from poached elephants.