China has announced that it will ban the sale of ivory by the end of 2017. The move to ban ivory in China is a very encouraging one. This is because it is thought that up to 70% of all ivory taken from elephants ends up in China. Therefore, by banning the sale of ivory there, it will have a great impact on the trade of ivory worldwide.
Ivory can sell for over $1000. Which means that it can be very profitable for people selling it. This is particularly true in Africa, where the ivory problem is most serious. As poverty is widespread in Africa, there is a huge problem of people killing elephants to escape it.
Because selling ivory is a way for impoverished people to make money, they participate in poaching and trade. That is not justifying the ivory trade. It is understanding the situation in Africa. In other words, when and if we reduce and stop poverty, we reduce and stop the ivory trade. Social problems are directly linked to the killing of wildlife.
China’s decision to ban ivory is a very encouraging one. However, if we want to create lasting change, then we need to tackle the social problems which are directly linked to this trade.
(Featured image: wild elephants in Kenya. Courtesy Kim Bartlett – Animal People, Inc.)