The Chinese government announces the imminent end of all trade and processing of ivory. A decision that could « change the game » according to animal rights defenders.
In China, this year will technically be the year of the rooster, but we prefer to believe that the elephant will be at the center of all consciousness. The Chinese government is announcing the imminent end of all trade and processing of ivory, highly sought after in China: « In order to better protect elephants and better combat trafficking, (China) will gradually stop the sale and processing for commercial purposes of ivory and ivory objects », and this by the end of 2017, indicated a few days ago the Council of State, government of the communist regime. This will affect “34 ivory processing companies and 143 trading centers, with dozens expected to close by March 2017”.
China is now the world’s largest consumer of contraband ivory. The material is indeed seen as a symbol of high social status in China, and the country’s high demand fuels the slaughter of tens of thousands of African elephants each year. According to nature conservation associations, more than 20,000 of these elephants were slaughtered for their ivory in 2015 and similar figures have been put forward in previous years. According to the World Wildlife Fund, only some 415,000 elephants remain; some African countries even saw a 60% drop in elephant numbers between 2009 and 2014. The decision is therefore notable, but with less than half a million specimens remaining, the question is whether the phasing out of this traffic will be enough to save this vulnerable species from extinction.
The WWF and the Natural Resources Defense Council have welcomed the Chinese decision, but animal protection organizations want Hong Kong – a Chinese territory with wide autonomy and its own laws – to stop the trade in it. ivory by 2021.