One of the funny things about trying different approaches to a problem is that sometimes the outcomes can be what you would least expect. That could not have been truer for some conservationists.
In 1989, they voted to end the ivory trade to save African elephants. The decision seemed smart. Banning the ivory trade would ensure that the market for ivory products would go away. But people always find ways to bypass the rules, and the illegal ivory trade did not go away. A black market simply emerged, endangering elephants further.
Zimbabwe decided to do the exact opposite by promoting the ivory trade. Private individuals can own and breed elephants. Because it is to their interest to make money from ivory, the owners are sure to take care of the elephants and not kill them. Or to put it another way, when something is owned by everybody, it's really owned by nobody. Therefore, people who own something as collective property don't feel personally responsible for it.
Other African nations have since followed Zimbabwe's lead. In some countries in Southern Africa, the elephant population has risen 40%. In contrast, their numbers continue to shrink in areas of the continent where they are considered the collective property of nations.