Elephant poaching is rampant in Africa despite a 10-year-old international ban on the ivory trade, Britain’s Environmental Investigation Agency announced on Sunday. Between April and December 1999, customs officers seized at least seven illegal shipments of ivory, including 1.8 tons at an airport and 221 pairs of tusks shipped to southern China. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species outlawed the ivory trade in 1989, but a special permit was given to Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe in April 1999 to sell their 60-ton ivory stockpile. “Lifting the ban was the biggest conservation blunder of the 1990s,” said EIA Chair Allan Thornton, pointing to reports that indicate an upsurge in poaching in the eight months following the ivory sale.