CHINA SAYS IT WILL STOP IVORY TRADE BY END OF 2017

The Denver Post - - NATION & WORLD -

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

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