So IFAW started an advertising campaign telling people why buying ivory kills elephants. The impact was stunning. According to the survey, 83 percent of people said that they wouldn't have bought ivory if they had known. An email from an artisan who carved ivory was especially memorable, Gabriel said. "He said, 'I have other materials - I don't have to use a material that takes a life.'"
But the public education campaign wasn't enough. The legal market was giving criminals opportunities to sell illegal ivory from newly killed elephants (not stockpiles from poaching already committed), Gabriel explained. And this confused consumers and made enforcement of the legal trade pretty much impossible.
That's why the Chinese government had to finally take a stand. In 2012, ivory was banned from being sold at auction in China - and the value of ivory plummeted. Gabriel believes that further restrictions, along with decreasing value and a more enlightened public, will make desire for ivory pretty much nil.
"I think this policy will drop the price and also stigmatize ivory consumption," Gabriel said.