China Bans Ivory Trade
China has put a ban on all ivory trade in the country. The ban came into effect on January 1 of this year. 67 official ivory processing factories and shops were closed last year and a remaining 100 were shut down on December 31. A similar ban in the U.S. went into effect in June 2016.
The Chinese decision to stop the ivory trading business has been welcomed by the World Wildlife Fund and other organisations as a major effort in protecting the world's elephant population. It is estimated that over 30,000 African elephants are killed every year.
Chinese citizens regard ivory as a status symbol. People buy jewelry, chopsticks and other objects made of ivory, leading to the development of one of the world's largest ivory markets. When trading ivory was officially banned worldwide in 1990, China continued to sell it through shops and factories. The legal trade also brought illegal ivory into the country.
However, there is a major concern that the new law does not apply to HongKong, an important ivory trading hub. Authorities in the former British colony are working on a ban of their own, expected to take effect soon. On the other side, customers will probably go to Laos, Vietnam or other Asian countries, where trading laws are not so strict.
In the past year, ivory prices started to go down as more and more Chinese shops were closing. The ban will have a big impact on African countries, especially Kenya and Tanzania, where most of the elephant poaching is taking place.
Engraved mammoth tusk - Image : Petr Novák, Wikipedia
- China Announces Ban on Ivory Trade
- Elephant poaching on the rise in Africa
- African Elephants in Danger of Becoming Extinct
- Poaching of African Elephants Still Goes On
- apply = take effect
- authorities = government organisations that have the power to make decisions
- ban = to forbid something; not allow
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- concern = feeling of worry about something important
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- ivory = hard, smooth yellowish-white material from the long teeth of elephants
- jewellery = small things that you wear for decoration, like necklaces or rings
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- processing = here: when you make an elephant's tusk into jewellery and other objects
- protect = here to keep animals safe
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- status symbol = something that you have that you think shows high social rank or position
- strict= here: law that must be obeyed
- trading hub = here: a place where ivory is bought and sold
- welcome = to be glad that something has happened
- worldwide = around the world
- World Wildlife Fund = organisation that tries to save and protect endangered animals