A shocking 80 percent of wild elephants in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam fell victim to the ivory trade between 1988 and 2000, according to a report issued yesterday by Save the Elephants. The report blamed French, Spanish, Italian, German, Japanese, and Chinese tourists for driving the trade in ivory trinkets, and said Thailand was the main marketplace for the illegal items. None of the surveyed countries, which also included Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Singapore, enforced laws banning the sale of ivory. Rather, many officials, ranging from customs officers to armed forces members, participated in or permitted the trade. The report did find one bright spot: It praised India for making substantial strides in eliminating its ivory trade. “It shows what a government can do if they want to close the trade down. It’s not a rich place, but they’ve done it very successfully,” said report co-author Esmond Martin.

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