Leave it to The Economist to provide an insightful analysis of CITES' effectiveness in actually preventing illegal trade in wildlife and their parts. It's a good article and worth your time and thought...whether you agree with it or not.
The point is not that bans never work. They can, especially in the short term or when species are in dire danger. But their longer-term success depends on three factors. First, they must be coupled with a reduction in demand for the banned products. If a ban helps to shift people's tastes, so much the better. Second, they must not undermine incentives to conserve endangered species in the wild. Third, they have to be supported by governments and citizens in the countries where these species live. If these conditions are not met, bans are unlikely either to reduce trade or to maintain endangered species. They may even make matters worse.
Photo by IFAW Think Twice.