China bans legal ivory trade

China’s government-licensed ivory retailers are to be shut down.

© Ivy Allen / USFWS at Flickr

The government-sanctioned ivory trade in China will come to a close, in accordance with the joint pledge of then-U.S. president Barack Obama and Chinese president Xi Jinping two years ago.

In the agreement, both countries have pledged to ban ivory trade, which prohibits the buying and selling of ivories. The U.S.’s ban went into effect on June 2016, while China went into effect on the last day of 2017.

“The Chinese government’s ban on its domestic ivory trade sends a message to the general public in China that the life of elephants is more important than the ivory carving culture,” said Gao Yufang, a PhD student in conservation biology and cultural anthropology at Yale University and a National Geographic Explorer.

It is believed that China plays a massive role in the slaughter of approximately 30,000 African elephants by poachers and that the country is also the world’s largest consumer of the legal and illegal trade of ivory. The ban, Yufang added, is a major step forward for the country and the world.

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