World’s Biggest Consumer of Elephant Tusks Calls a Halt to Poaching
China has announced a ban on all ivory trade and processing activities by the end of 2017. This is a very important decision as China is the biggest market in the world, and some estimates suggest that 70% of the world’s trade ends up there. Certainly the love of ivory in China accounts for a great deal of the drive behind the killing of elephants for their tusks. Ivory can reach £850 ($1,100) per kilogram in China. Conservation groups have been extremely pleased with the announcement.
China’s State Council announced the details of the ban at the end of December. The commercial processing and sale of ivory will stop by 31st March 2017, and all registered traders will then be phased out, bringing a full halt to the market by the end of the year.
Microsoft Founder Paul Allen funded the Great Elephant Census, which revealed that there to be a total of 352,271 savannah elephants in Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Niger, Burkina Faso, Benin, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Almost a third of African Elephants – around 144,000 animals – were killed for their ivory, between 2007 and 2014. With more of these magnificent creatures being killed than born, this is a very bad indicator for species survival. Fortunately the Chinese ban on ivory may make a huge difference.
Reacting to the news, Born Free conservation charity’s President Will Travers OBE said, “China is the world’s largest market for ivory and, for many years, has been regarded by many as the main driver of the global ivory crisis. Because of demand driven in large part by the Chinese market, elephants across Africa are being killed by poachers in their tens of thousands each year so that their ivory can be laundered into trade by criminal syndicates. Strong action by China is therefore crucial to the very future of elephants. The official announcement that China intends to close down its domestic ivory market within a year is therefore very good news indeed. We will be urging the Chinese authorities to fully implement the ban in the time-scale announced, and the authorities in Hong Kong, who have recently proposed a 5–year process, to follow Mainland China’s lead and speed up the implementation of their own ban.”
Photos: Andrew Shiva/Wikimedia Commons; Stahlkocher/Wikimedia Commons; Born Free Foundation.
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