The International Fund for Animal Welfare has called China’s ban on domestic ivory trade by December 31, “a tremendous victory for elephants”.
On Friday last week,China, the world’s largest consumer of ivory, bowed to international pressure and said it would ban all produciton and sales by year’s end.
Smuggling and underground workshops and sales will be difficult to eradicate, however, as rich Chinese have a big appetite for ivory.
Still, the decision aids the war against poaching.
The first group of factories and traders will close by March 31. IFAW President and CEO Azzedine Downes yesterday said the move showed “decisive action and leadership”.
IFAW has been a leader in efforts to save elephants — from work on the ground preventing poaching to efforts to stop the trafficking and changing behaviour to reduce consumer demand,” Downes said.
“This is the culmination of years of effort and a wonderful way to end 2016.” Environment CS Judi Wakhungu attributed the move partly to an MoU she signed with her Chinese counterpart in August 2013.
IFAW Asia Regional Director Grace Ge Gabriel said, “Perhaps 2017 will be the year that we will see the end of the poaching crisis.. She added, “To stop the slaughter of elephants, we have to break every link in the trade chain—from poaching to trafficking to demand.