China has announced a ban on ivory in what is being hailed as a “game changer” for Africa’s endangered elephant.
Beijing says ivory trading and processing, other than the auctions of “legitimately” sourced antiques, will be outlawed by the end of March 2017.
Conservationists say the move against the Chinese market, which is estimated to buy 70 per cent of the world’s ivory, also puts pressure on neighbouring Hong Kong and Britain to remove loopholes.
“This is great news that will shut down the world’s largest market for elephant ivory,” said Wildlife Conservation Society Asia director Aili King.
“This is a game-changer for Africa’s elephants. We call on all other countries with legal domestic ivory markets to follow China’s lead and close their markets as well.”