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Hope for Elephants

China has announced that it will close its domestic ivory market by the end of 2017. This marks a significant win for elephants.

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This year is off to a hopeful start for elephants in the wild.

As support mounted for an international ban on commercial ivory trade in 2016, and a formal recommendation for the shutdown of all remaining legal markets was made by CITES Cop17 in September, China has announced that it will close its domestic ivory market by the end of 2017.

This marks a significant win for elephants - China’s ivory market is the world’s largest, so the ban will help decrease demand and set a strong example for countries still defending legal ivory.

More than 30,000 African elephants are killed each year in the wild for their ivory. That’s almost 100 elephants each day!

Origami Elephants for Conservation

While the illegal ivory trade remains a monumental issue, China’s move will eliminate the laundering of illegal ivory into the legal market. We hope to see other countries follow China’s lead, especially those geographically close – Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, Japan – to prevent people from seeking legal ivory from neighboring countries.

China's President Xi Jinping has committed to begin closing the country's ivory factories and traders by the end of March, and to completely shut the industry down by the end of the year. The Chinese government indicated that it will help ivory carvers find new jobs, such as in museums and restoration projects. It will also expand awareness and education efforts that urge the public to focus on the ecological devastation caused by the ivory trade, rather than defend its role in China’s cultural heritage.

China’s announcement represents a turning point for the ivory issue, but efforts must still be made to combat poaching and the criminal networks that drive the global ivory industry. By decreasing demand, weakening the supply chain, and fortifying legislation and law enforcement, we have great opportunity – and responsibility – to help secure a future for elephants.

Learn more about helping animals in the wild at FutureforWildlife.org.

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