AWF Lauds China for Officially Closing its Domestic Ivory Market

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The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) commends China for the implementation of the domestic ivory ban. China has made good on the commitment it made to the African Union and the African States during the 2015 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit to work with Africa in curbing elephant poaching and illegal trade in wildlife products. 

Since China announced that it would close down its domestic ivory trade, there has been an 80-percent decline in seizures of ivory entering the country, prices of ivory products have dropped considerably, and the market is already shrinking.  With only about 415,000 elephants remaining in Africa this is very promising in ensuring the long-term survival of one of Africa’s most beloved species.

“Although the ban is not a means to an end by itself, it is a game changer. Beyond the ivory ban, there are strong opportunities to align Africa’s sustainable development goals with China’s commitment to helping African industrialization and agricultural modernization, which will then deter the exploitation of natural resources, said Kaddu Sebunya, president of the African Wildlife Foundation. “China’s support of the continent’s sustainable agricultural production efforts will allow wild lands to flourish naturally as large landscapes for conservation, wildlife, and other economic development for future generations.”
The most prominent threat to elephants is still in habitat management. AWF is optimistic that the African governments will play a firmer part, as well as China stepping up to support the governments as they improve habitat management and reduce threats to wildlife and wild lands, especially coming from economic development aspirations. 

“An African voice for conservation of the continent’s iconic species and natural endowments is very critical. You cannot substitute the role the African government needs to play in stopping the vice,” added Kaddu.

To stop wildlife trade, we need to stop the killing, trafficking, and the demand. When the demand stops, the killing stops too. There’s need for Asia and Africa to work together to solve this problem. AWF will continue to work with partners in China and the African Union to maintain the momentum and reduce the demand.