A landmark decision has been made regarding the ivory industry in China and it’s a fantastic one for elephants.
China has finally banned trade on ivory products, which has been described as a ‘game changer’ for the endangered African elephant.
The independent reports that auctions, trading and processing of the material will be banished by March 2017.
Shockingly, China buys 70 per cent of the world’s ivory, but animal rights groups are hoping this move will put a lot of pressure on Hong Kong and Britain to abolish any loop holes.
Aili King Director of Wildlife Conservation Society Asia said:
This is great news that will shut down the world’s largest market for elephant ivory.
This is a game-changer for Africa’s elephants. We call on all other countries with legal domestic ivory markets to follow China’s lead and close their markets as well.
WWF-China chief executive Lo Sze Ping also added:
Closing the world’s largest legal ivory market will deter people in China and beyond from buying ivory, and make it harder for ivory traffickers to sell their illegal stocks.
African ivory in China is rather disgustingly considered a status symbol, normally priced around £891 per kilo.
China’s State Council stated:
To better protect elephants and better tackle the illegal trade … China will gradually stop the processing and sale of ivory for commercial purposes.
The ban comes after Beijing’s promise to crackdown on imported goods, however there is an exemption on antique auctions, which will apparently be allowed to continue under ‘strict supervision.’
In the past 10 years, around 100,000 Elephants lost their lives due to poaching, meaning their population has dropped dramatically.
This new ban is set to affect 34 processing enterprises and 143 trading outlets which deal with 800-900 cases of the product smuggled into china each year.
WWF-UK wildlife charity acting chief executive Glyn Davies said:
China has shown good leadership and we are now looking to other markets to close legal trade and implement stricter enforcement measures.
Worryingly, the UK still allows sales of ivory based antiques made pre-1947, but are promising to abolish ivory trading in its entirety.
Chief executive of Tusk, Charlie Mayhew said:
It emphasises the need for the UK to move swiftly and follow suit.
Reassuringly, Prince William is pro-banning ivory products and has accused the global governments of sending out ‘mixed messages’ regarding its trade.
Obviously, we still have a way to go, but this decision is a huge one which will help to save the lives of the remaining endangered species.