Ivory was a major talking point at the CITES CoP17 conference.Many feel the ban on trade doesn't work while others believe the ban is the only way to save the iconic species.
A stronger ban on lion trade by CITES would have helped to lessen some of the threats lions face but it would have not have protected the animals from sport hunting.
Swaziland hoped to be allowed to legally trade rhino horns but the idea was rejected by vote at the CITES conference.
Sharks were a major talking point at the CITES conference this year and their protection has been expanded to cover new species.
In the absence of trading ivory, other solutions have to be found to fund conservation and support communities living on the front line of the battle against poaching.
Historical evidence shows African elephants are endangered by the ivory trade, despite any attempt at regulating the market. A total ban is the only hope for the world's largest living land animal.
Military responses to combat poaching are a problem. They marginalise communities where poachers come from and can have longer term implications.
The ivory trade is a very contentious issue and will be debated at CITES. It will revolve around maintaining or lifting the ban on trade. But the human element is likely to be ignored.
The CITES conference on international wildlife trade could determine whether these animals have a viable future.
The focus of CITES is not solely on the protection of species. It also promotes controlled trade that is not detrimental to the sustainability of wild species.
Rhino horn trade is a hotly contested topic. Proponents believe it can aid conservation efforts. But those in opposition believe it will cause poaching to increase.
A few national parks and reserves want to dehorn rhinos and there is a lobby for a regulated and closely monitored legal trade in rhino horn. But this is met by opposition from many.
Southern African nations are seeking permission to trade in ivory, in direct opposition to the wishes of their northern neighbours.
EU officials argue that while the ban on ivory trade is right for some countries, it shouldn't be all-encompassing. It has called on African range states to reach agreement on the issue.