The worldwide elephant population has suffered for a long time due to the demand for their ivory. The world has poached the magnificent creatures and stolen their ivory for centuries, diminishing the population to dangerous levels for the sole purpose of making beautiful jewelry or piano keys from their tusks. But now, after decades of public opinion being against the killing and maiming of these great animals, China is taking an official stand against the practice. China is one of the countries with the highest levels of domestic ivory trading, not to mention the underground networks there and elsewhere in the world that exacerbate the problem.
With as many as 30,000 elephants killed every year (out of a total global population of only 400,000) this announcement by China’s State Council could be the saving grace for the remaining animals. In the next few months, China will begin closing down the country’s 34 processing facilities and 143 trading venues — a major first step for the long-term plan. Most importantly, they will be directly addressing and combating the illegal channels that trade ivory in China as well. The Council release states that in addition the more obvious limitations being put in place there will also be directives for the “transfer or sale” of ivory that is already privately owned or possessed.
China is one of the world’s largest markets for ivory, so the promise that by this time next year their ivory trade will be all but gone is a huge deal for the health of the species in the long term. Years of wildlife organizations campaigning against these practices is finally paying off.