Endangered species: China bans ivory trade by December 2017

The Chinese government strikes hard at the beginning of this year when announcing a total ban on ivory trade on its territory by Dec. 31st 2017. After this date, ivory will only be gifted or inherited but will no longer be bought.

A loophole in the 1989 CITES ban allowed consumers to purchase ivory harvested before that date, thus raising the demand and endangering the elephants’ populations that had survived the massacres in the 19th and 20th centuries. From several million elephants in Asia and Africa in the beginning of the 20th century, we can only count a few hundred thousand today.

This decision is a major leverage for change in elephants’ conservation because it closes down the first market worldwide to traffickers.

The Chinese government has already planned the retraining of ivory artisans (museum curators, art restorers etc.) and plans on providing help to fight elephant tusks illegal trafficking. It also intends to sensitize the population to the necessity of protecting the elephants from ivory hunters.

This dynamic of nature conservation initiated by Beijing is an example to follow, especially in countries of the Asia-Pacific area such as Vietnam or Japan; and even the United Kingdom in Europe, to strengthen the fight against elephant tusks illegal trafficking in ivory trade.

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