China officially ended its ivory trade

Every year, about 30,000 African elephants are killed because of poaching, habitat destruction and human conflict, reports WWF. As a result, the giant terrestrial mammal is expected to disappear within 10 years. It is obviously a simulacrum that can be avoided. The Chinese government clearly agrees, because on December 31, 2017, it put an end to all of its domestic ivory trade. This means that one of the largest consumers of ivory in the world will no longer tolerate the sale of this material.

As you might expect, the news has been hailed by conservation groups, wildlife activists and animal lovers from around the world. Ginette Hemley, WWF First Vice President, said, “In decades from now, we can say that this is one of the most important days in the history of elephant conservation. China has followed through on a great promise to the world, offering hope for the future of elephants. “

As reported by IFLScience, an international ban on the ivory trade was enacted in 1990. It was therefore illegal for countries to trade ivory beyond their borders and not to trade it within the borders of the country. country. As a result, demand for ivory, particularly in Asian countries, remained high. In fact, ivory costs up to $ 1,500 a pound.

Now that the Chinese government has banned the sale of ivory within its borders, 34 legal processing shops and 143 designated trading places have been closed. Fortunately, the former ivory workers will not be displaced. The Chinese Ministry of Culture will help people to use their skills in other places of work. The Xinhua News Agency reports that master sculptors, for example, will have the opportunity to work with museums. They can teach the history of ivory carving and perform restoration work there.

Of course, people will continue to trade in ivory; in China and elsewhere in the world. The announcement of the ban remains positive. This is because China has made it clear that it is turning its back on trade. Soon, other countries could follow suit.

“This ban alone will not stop elephant poaching. It is equally crucial that China’s neighbors follow suit and close the ivory markets in Asia. Only then will we be able to ensure that open trade does not simply move to other countries and provide traffickers with safe channels for newly poached ivory, “Hemley said. “The fate of African elephants depends on global rejection of the ivory trade, and governments hold the key to this denial.”

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