In a landmark move towards animal rights, China, the world’s largest importer of elephant tusks announced their intentions to ban the selling of ivory in their country, to take effect Sunday.
This move has been in talks since 2014, where the demand for ivory began its slow descent in the market, attributed to a suppression of corruption and a slower growing economy. Not to mention, the very much increased public awareness of elephant poaching from celebrities and activists contributed to the decline in demand for ivory.
Activist Peter Knights, also chief executive of the group WildAid, said that this action is “the greatest single step toward reducing elephant poaching.” Already, the ban has led to an 80% decline in seizures of illegal ivory entering the country, as well as a drastic reduction in prices for the product, with some estimates at the a 65% drop from 2014.
Still, this ban does not affect Hong Kong, which is ruled under a special administrative region in the country. Hong Kong still has the largest retail market for ivory, though the city legislature has set a timetable on the official ban of ivory sales as well, with a final vote coming sometime in 2018.