China has proclaimed a one-year ban on African ivory imports ahead of next week’s presence of Britain’s Prince William, who is in strong opposition regarding ivory trade. China will cease all ivory imports until February of 2016, according to the country’s State Forestry Administration. The ban will include all carvings obtained after 1975.
Prince William has been critical of China’s use of ivory, while animal rights activists claim the nation’s increased desire for the material has instigated a surge in elephant poaching in Africa. Officials say this is a motion to protect African elephants, and the one-year ban was created to assess the problems with ivory trade.
In 2014, China destroyed nearly seven tons of the confiscated contraband, the first public destruction of an ivory stockpile. Though, China still is the world’s number one market for poached ivory.
According to the Convention on the International trade in Endangered Species (CITES), over 20,000 African elephants were slain for ivory in 2013. Moreover, only around 500,000 elephants are left in Africa.
By Alex Lemieux
Photo by Greyloch – Flickr License