Elephants are mammals of the family Elephantidae and the largest existing land animals. CITES regulates the existing Elephantidae under two species:

African elephant (Loxodonta africana)

African elephant populations (with the exception of the populations of Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe) are included in CITES Appendix I.
The African elephant populations of Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe are included in CITES Appendix II. The Appendix II-listings are subject to an annotation that specify the specimens that the four range States can export.

Asian elephant (Elephas maximus)

Asian elephants are listed in Appendix I of the Convention. The species was included in Appendix I from 1975 when CITES entered into force.
The Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM.


The scientific name used in CITES to describe the species covered by the Convention remains Loxodonta africana.

The CITES Appendices use scientific (latin) names to describe the species covered by the Convention and CITES Parties have adopted the following reference which applies to the name given to African elephants:

WILSON, D. E. & REEDER, D. M. (1993). Mammal Species of the World: a Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Second edition. xviii + 1207 pp., Washington (Smithsonian Institution Press).

The practical effect of this that all African elephants are covered by CITES regulations under the scientific name Loxodonta africana - including animals referred to by some as African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis)*.

* The IUCN recognize two species: Loxodonta africana (African savanna elephant) listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM; and Loxodonta cyclotis (African forest elephant) listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM.


Resolution Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP18)
Trade in elephant specimens
Resolution Conf. 11.20 (Rev. CoP18)
Definition of the term ‘appropriate and acceptable destinations’
Resolution Conf. 11.3 (Rev. CoP18)
Compliance and Enforcement
Resolution Conf. 13.6 (Rev. CoP18)
Implementation of Article VII, paragraph 2, concerning ‘pre-Convention’ specimens
Resolution Conf. 13.7 (Rev. CoP17)
Control of trade in personal and household effects
Resolution Conf. 14.7 (Rev. CoP15)
Management of nationally established export quotas
Resolution Conf. 16.9
African Elephant Action Plan and African Elephant Fund
Resolution Conf. 17.4
Demand reduction strategies to combat illegal trade in CITES-listed species
Resolution Conf. 17.8
Disposal of illegally traded and confiscated specimens of CITES-listed species
Resolution Conf. 17.9
Trade in hunting trophies of species listed in Appendix I or II 


Decisions 18.18 – 18.20
Review of the ETIS Programme
Decisions 18.21 – 18.22
MIKE and ETIS Programmes
Decisions 18.117 – 18.119
Closure of domestic ivory markets
Decisions 18.120 – 18.121
Trade in Mammoth ivory
Decisions 18.182 – 18.185
Stocks and stockpiles (elephant ivory)
Decisions 18.152 – 18.156
Definition of ‘appropriate and acceptable destinations’
Decisions 18.226 – 18.227
Trade in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus)


Notification 2020/044 (issued on 26/05/2020)
China – Continued measures to ban the import of elephant tusks and their products
Notification 2020/042 (issued on 18/05/2020)
Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS): questionnaire on data collection
Notification 2020/026 (issued on 23/03/2020)
Closure of domestic ivory markets
Notification 2020/027 (issued on 02/03/2020)
Trade in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus)
Notification 2020/005 (issued on 14/01/2020)
Monitoring the illegal trade in ivory
Notification 2019/079 (issued on 30/12/2019)
Elephant ivory stocks: marking, inventories and security
Notification 2019/077 (issued on 20/12/2019)
Reservations with reference to the amendments to Appendices I and II of the Convention and related communications
Notification 2019/076 (issued on 19/12/2019)
Explanatory notes for the export quotas
Notification 2019/046 (issued on 17/08/2019)
Programming codes in the ETIS analysis and PIKE trend analysis for CoP18
Notification 2019/032 (issued on 06/06/2019)
MIKE and ETIS Technical Advisory Group (TAG)

Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE)

Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) Programme is a site-based system designed to monitor trends in the illegal killing of African and Asian elephants; build management capacity; and provide information to help range States and the CITES community make appropriate management and enforcement decisions.

Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS)

The Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) monitors and analyzes trends in illegal trade in elephant specimens, including ivory. The ETIS report to each meeting of the Conference of the Parties is the foundation for identifying Parties to participate in the National Ivory Action Plan (NIAP) Process.


National Ivory Action Plan Process

CITES national ivory action plan (NIAP) is a practical tool of the Convention that is being used by a number of Parties to strengthen their controls of the trade in ivory and ivory markets and help combat the illegal trade in ivory.

NIAPs are developed in compliance with recommendations made by the CITES Standing Committee.

African Elephant Action Plan

The African Elephant Action Plan was adopted by 32 African elephant Range States in the margins of CoP15 in 2010, and has the following goal: To secure and restore where possible sustainable elephant populations throughout their present and potential range in Africa, recognising their potential to provide ecological, social, cultural and economic benefits.

The African Elephant Fund has been established under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to attract funding and direct resources for effective implementation of the African Elephant Action Plan.

Tools and resources

Ivory stockpiles

Paragraph 7 e) of Resolution Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP18) on Trade in elephant specimens urges certain Parties to annually declare details of their government-held ivory stockpiles and where possible, significant privately held stockpiles of ivory within their territory. The Parties who are urged to do this are Parties designated as ivory importing countries and those within whose jurisdiction:

  • there is an ivory carving industry;
  • there is a legal domestic trade in ivory;
  • there is an unregulated market for or illegal trade in ivory; or
  • ivory stockpiles exist.

These Parties are urged to maintain an inventory of government-held stockpiles of ivory and, where possible, of significant privately held stockpiles and inform the Secretariat of:

  • the level of this stock annually;
  • the number of pieces and their weight per type of ivory (raw or worked);
  • (for relevant pieces, and if marked) their markings in accordance with the provisions of the Resolution;
  • the source of the ivory; and
  • the reasons for any significant changes in the stockpile compared to the preceding year.

Since November 2019, the Secretariat is requested to publish a regional summary of the weight of stocks declared every year.

In the exercise for 2023, 581 tonnes of ivory stocks have been declared by 23 Parties. The regional summary of the weight of stocks declared as of 28 February 2023 is as follows:

2022 ivory stockpiles by region (in tons)
(declaration as of 28/02/2023)