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Hurray! China Announces Complete Ban on Ivory Trade By 2017

Jan 03, 2017 11:31 AM EST

China just announced a major turning point in the fight against illegal poaching -- banning ivory trading and processing by the end of March 2017.

The announcement was made by the Chinese Government on the last day of 2017, almost a year after the country, through China's President Xi Jinping pledged to enact "nearly complete bans" on the import and export of ivory.

As reported by the National Geographic, global ivory trade has been banned since 1989, but during recent years large-scale poaching has resumed, and elephant numbers have fallen as low as 415,000. In mainland China alone, between 800 and 900 cases of ivory smuggling are uncovered each year.

The Chinese Government said that not only will the ban save the elephants and the environment, but it would also save their government by eliminating corrupt officials, as they are usually the ones who engage in illegal ivory trade.

China's State Council said African ivory, a status symbol, is priced at around $1,100 (£891) per kilo.

The big win for elephant conservation was celebrated by environmentalist and activists all over the world. Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF said, "The large-scale trade of ivory now faces its twilight years, and the future is brighter for wild elephants. With the US also ending its domestic ivory trade earlier this year, two of the largest ivory markets have taken action that will reverberate around the world."

Meanwhile, the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William who is also rallying to ban illegal ivory trade in UK, also applauded the ban. In a statement, he said, "'China's decision to ban its domestic ivory trade by the end of the year could be a turning point in the race to save elephants from extinction."

The state-owned Xinhua news agency says the ban will affect 34 processing enterprises and 143 designated trading venues. China will start to revoke some business licenses by March 2017.

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