China's complete ban on ivory trade went into effect on Sunday, officials said, a major step forward in Beijing's efforts to rein in what was once the world's largest market for illegal ivory.


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China's complete ban on ivory trade went into effect on Sunday. The buying and selling of elephant ivory and goods by any market, shop or vendor is now illegal across the country (file photo)  Credit: dailymail


'From today... the buying and selling of elephant ivory and goods by any market, shop or vendor is against the law!' the forestry ministry said on its official account on Chinese social media platform Weibo.


'From now on, if a merchant tells you "this is a state-approved ivory dealer"... he is duping you and knowingly violating the law.'


The ministry added that the ban also applied to online sales and souvenirs purchased abroad. A partial ban had already resulted in an 80 percent decline in seizures of ivory entering China, according to the Xinhua state news agency. Domestic prices for raw ivory are down 65 percent, it said. The total domestic ban was announced at the end of 2016.


By March 2017, Xinhua reported, 67 factories and shops involved in China's ivory trade had closed. The remaining 105 were expected to close Sunday. China had previously banned imports of all ivory and ivory products acquired before 1975, after pressure to restrict a trade that sees thousands of elephants slaughtered every year.


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Poaching in Africa has seen the elephant population fall by 110,000 over the last 10 years to just 415,000, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (file photo) Photo credit: Dailymail


African ivory is highly sought after in China, where it is seen as a status symbol, and used to fetch as much as $1,100 a kilogram (2.2lb). Poaching in Africa has seen the elephant population fall by 110,000 over the last 10 years to just 415,000, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. China's move was welcomed by conservation campaigners, with Peter Knights, chief executive of the group WildAid, hailing it as ‘the greatest single step toward reducing elephant poaching.'


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Photo credit: baidu


China's move was welcomed by conservation campaigners, with Peter Knights, chief executive of the group WildAid, hailing it as ‘the greatest single step toward reducing elephant poaching.'


Despite an overall fall in poaching, Africa's elephant population has declined in part because of continued illegal killing, said a report this year by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. 


Still, about 20,000 elephants are being slaughtered annually due to the global demand in ivory. If current rates of poaching continue, the animals could become extinct within decades in some African countries, experts warn. Conservation groups have called for a ban amid concerns the legal market in ivory in the UK has been used as a cover for trade in illegal ivory.  


Source: Dailymail

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