Today, China announced it would ban its domestic ivory trade by the end of 2017. The following is a statement by African Wildlife Foundation CEO Patrick Bergin in response to the news.
We commend the decisive action by the Chinese government to ban the ivory trade. With China being one of the biggest demand markets for ivory, this bold step sends the strongest signal possible that ivory’s rightful place is on an elephant and not as a decorative item in someone’s home.
While we have seen African governments increasingly cracking down on poachers and traffickers, their actions alone would not have been enough to halt this crisis. By setting a specific end date for its ivory trade, the Chinese government is recognizing the importance of elephants to its partners in Africa and its own role in safeguarding this species. China is clearly making good on the commitments it made during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
With only about 415,000 elephants remaining in Africa and with elephant poaching at an all-time high, this step is crucial in ensuring the long-term survival of one of Africa’s most beloved species.
The African Wildlife Foundation stands ready to work with our partners in China and the African Union to continue the momentum to end the ivory trade.