Over the years, the elephant population has seen a rapid decline due to elephant poaching in Africa. Thousands of elephants are killed each year, and at this rate, Africa’s elephants could face extinction. China currently comprises of the world’s largest market for elephant ivory products. Although the international trade of ivory is banned, countries like China still allow the domestic sale of ivory.
Approximately 35 years ago, the elephant population was sitting at about 1.2 million. And now, the population sits at about 400,000 to 500,000 elephants. If ivory continues to remain full force in the market, the African elephants could face extinction within the next 10 years or so.
In recent news, China has taken a big step towards saving the African elephants from extinction. The country is set to close down 67 carving factories and retail shops. According to China’s State Forestry Administration, this closure will affect about a third of all factories and retail shops.
According to Peter Knights, CEO of WildAid, “These closures prove that China means business in closing down the ivory trade and helping the African elephant. The price of ivory has dropped by two-thirds from previous highs, so it is now a very bad investment. We expect further drops as the full closure approaches at the end of the year.”
Increasing public awareness surrounding the brutality of poaching elephants for their ivory has taken a toll on its demand in the marketplace. Save the Elephants reports that the price of elephant tusks in China was $2,100/kg in 2014. By 2015 the price dropped to $1,100/kg and in February of 2017, the price was down to $730/kg.
Closing ivory shops and factories in China is a huge step in the right direction. Our team applauds the effort that China is making in saving the African elephant from extinction!