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China announces one-year ivory ban

EXTRACT FROM THE FOLLOWING THIRD PARTY SOURCE: Written by Tom Phillips for The Telegraph

China has announced a one-year ban on the import of ivory carvings amid mounting criticism over the country’s role in the annual slaughter of thousands of African elephants.

china ivory ban

In an open letter to Xi Jinping, right, David Attenborough urges the Communist Party leader to take action © EPA/EPA

The move comes days before Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, is expected to raise the plight of African elephants during a tour of China and follows recent calls from Sir David Attenborough and other conservationists for a total ban on China’s domestic ivory trade.

The ban was announced on the website of China’s State Administration of Forestry on Thursday. Xinhua, China’s official news agency, said authorities would evaluate the temporary ban’s impact on the killing of elephants in Africa, which last year reached “critically high levels”, according to the United Nations.

The Duke of Cambridge, who is known for his wildlife activism, is likely to highlight the dismal situation facing Africa’s dwindling elephant populations during a three-day trip to China next week.

On Wednesday the Duke will travel to Xishuangbanna in China’s southwest province of Yunnan to visit an elephant rehabilitation centre. The region has been the focus of major government efforts to protect Asian wild elephants in recent years and their work has received praise for reducing poaching and helping elephant populations recover.

However, China has faced severe criticism for the role the country’s thirst for ivory plays in the annual slaughter of thousands of elephants outside its borders.

Xi Jinping needed to completely ban China’s domestic ivory trade in order to help halt the killings of African elephants, Sir David Attenborough and a group of campaigners said earlier this month in an open letter to China’s president. “Unless urgent actions are taken by the international community, and China in particular, to stop this demand, the killing of elephants will continue unabated and could lead to their extinction in much of their range areas within a short time – possibly as little as 10 years,” they wrote.

Thursday’s announcement of a one-year ban on the import of ivory carvings falls well short of those demands.

The moratorium was “window dressing,” the UK-based Environmental Investigation Agency said, according to Associated Press. “It is unfortunate that [Beijing has] not announced a much-needed policy change by banning all domestic trade in ivory — this is the policy change that could actually make a difference for elephants in Africa,” Shruti Suresh, wildlife campaigner from the group, was quoted as saying.

The Duke of Cambridge has emerged as a major champion of the campaign to save Africa’s elephants, more than 32 000 of which were killed illegally in 2012, according to the UN. He was praised by wildlife activists last February following claims he wished to destroy all of the ivory kept in Buckingham Palace, in a symbolic act designed to highlight his opposition to the trade.

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News Desk

A collection of current affairs articles and press releases from third party sources.

  • Esme’ Blair

    This ban is ineffectual, it does not state whether it is a ban on raw ivory or finished[carved] ivory. Further, the elephants belong to Africa and do not belong to China to “assess ‘ the situation….who are they to have a say on whether our animals live or die ??Why does China think it has the right to control Africa’s wildlife??

    • Sean

      interesting, I want every one who thinks that China has a huge ivory market to take trouble having a field visit.

  • Caroline Mason

    What a load nonsense China’s recent announcement on banning imports of
    carved ivory is. Firstly, it is only for 12 months – apparently they
    will assess what impact this ban has on poaching levels in Africa! What
    rubbish. But secondly, this is a pre-HRH Prince William visit who will
    apparently take them to task (very nicely of course) on the level of
    poaching and possible extinction of the African elephant – within maybe
    20 years if China does not do something meaningful and effective on the ivory trade. Well how about this then China:-
    Close all your carving factories.

    Give all your nationals working in Africa a plain and simple choice –
    stop organising ivory poaching; stop smuggling ivory or you will be
    brought home and punished – properly – what is the sentence for killing
    pandas – is it the death sentence? Well it should be the same.
    Immediately commence demand reduction campaigns and education campaigns in every school.
    Shut down every market, every shop, every internet site selling ivory products.
    Anything less is mere window dressing. Anything less means you are NOT serious.

    • Sean

      interesting, I want every one who thinks that China has a huge ivory market to take trouble having a field visit. If the problem is wrongly targeted, the solution will, too.

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