Mounting pressures from international organizations, public figures, such as former Houston Rockets center, Yao Ming, and the looming extinction of elephants, yielded this substantial development in banning ivory. This move comes as a result of talks between Washington and Beijing’s senior leadership that also included economic and strategic matters.


Propelled by Chinese demand for ivory, estimates have concluded that over the last decade more than 100,000 elephants have been killed for their ivory. Greed and avarice for this white gold or organic gemstone has decimated the elephant populations in Africa.

Estimates suggest 50-70% of ivory ends up in China.

Illegal smuggling through Hong Kong, corruption and chaos in Central Africa, the collapse of order, and ivory for guns are principal reasons for the carnage. African brokers in Mombasa, Kenya are one of the busiest, moving tusks past officials who are encouraged or paid off to cooperate.


The key to poaching is supply and demand. Reducing the demand for ivory is only one piece to shutting down poaching. The long-running policy by conservationist advocates to shame governments to own responsibility and do the right things seems to have worked. The concurrent issue will be enforcement.

Grace Ge Gabriel, the Asia director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said that the new policy, “demonstrates the Chinese government’s determination to save elephants.”


The next piece is China’s support for the conversion of ivory factories, businesses, museums, and personal collections.

The plan includes processes to assist workers like master carvers who will need employment. Personal collectors can keep or sell the ivory at pre-approved, supervised auctions.

The New York Times reports that Carter Roberts, the president and chief executive of the World Wildlife Fund, said in a written statement. “With the United States also ending its domestic ivory trade earlier this year, two of the largest ivory markets have taken action that will reverberate around the world.”

Moving forward, other nations such as Britain and Southeast Asia are being urged to follow suit according to Ms. Pepper of the Natural Resources Defense Council.