CHINA SAYS IT WILL STOP IVORY TRADE BY END OF 2017
johannesburg» China says it plans to shut down its ivory trade by the end of 2017 in a move designed to curb the mass slaughter of African elephants.
The Chinese government will end the processing and selling of ivory and ivory products by the end of March as it phases out the legal trade, according to a statement released Friday.
China previously announced it planned to shut down the commercial trade, which conservationists described as significant because China’s vast, increasingly affluent consumer market drives much of the elephant poaching across Africa.
“This is a game changer for Africa’s elephants,” said Aili Kang, the Asia director for the New Yorkbased Wildlife Conservation Society.
China, which has supported an ivory-carving industry as part of its cultural heritage, said carvers will be encouraged to change their activities and work, for example, in the restoration of artifacts for museums. More efforts will be made to stop the illegal trade, the statement said.
Conservation groups say China’s illegal ivory trade has flourished and that criminal syndicates have used the legal Chinese market as cover for their illicit business in tusks. Associated Press file