China’s ivory trade ban has had positive effects in reducing ivory trade, since it came into effect at the end of 2017. However, more work must be done to tackle the trade, including urgent action to reduce ivory purchases from Chinese travellers visiting neighbouring countries.
New research released by WWF and TRAFFIC has shown that intention to buy ivory in China has dropped by almost half to 26%, in comparison to 2017 before the ban was in place. Alongside this, 9 out of 10 people asked in the consumer research said that they support the ivory ban in China.
All pre-ban legal ivory shops visited by TRAFFIC in 2018 have stopped selling ivory and the scale of, illegal ivory trade in most surveyed cities and online platforms has decreased.
However, despite these positive findings further efforts are needed.
What are the challenges?
Whilst the purchasing of ivory has reduced within China, there are still concerns of an illegal ivory trade within trafficking hotspots, particularly at the border with neighbouring Vietnam. The recent report also highlighted concerns over China’s ivory auction market, which remains the only legitimate post-ban commercial outlet for ivory sales. Examination of the current exemption allowing antique ivory to be sold at auction has revealed potential loopholes for laundering illegal ivory. 17 pre-auction exhibitions that were visited as part of the investigation revealed a lack of compliance with the need to obtain administrative approvals from relevant authorities, with seven of them in violation of laws and regulations related to elephant ivory auctions. This discovery led to 219 lots of elephant ivory items being withdrawn by law enforcement officers.
How can you help?
At the London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade in October, want to see strong commitments to end wildlife crime. To tackle the elephant poaching crisis we want world leaders to commit to closing their domestic legal and illegal ivory markets by May 2019, especially those in Asia which contribute most to the international illegal ivory trade.
Please join our fight to end wildlife crime by signing our petition to demand urgent action to end this horrific trade.