China will this week implement new laws aimed at curbing the trade of ivory. The new legislation will outlaw commercial traders and manufactories across the country, essentially banning the country’s massive ivory industry.
China is the largest market for ivory in the world, with up to 70% of all trafficked product ending up in the country. A growing middle class and high demand for raw ivory in traditional medicines has led to unprocessed ivory being sold for as high as $1000USD per pound. At the same time the legalised processing of ivory into artworks, jewellery and furniture has allowed for a booming international trade that bolsters poaching networks across Africa and continues to foster demand in Europe and North America.
Although the international trade of ivory is illegal in all states, countries like China and the United States have still allowed trade within their own borders. With these new laws China is hoping to curb demand in trafficked goods and wares, leading to an eventual drop in global demand.
The ivory trade is the largest single contributor to the decline of elephants in Africa, and has been linked to armed gangs and terrorist groups operating throughout the continent.
Earlier this month Teresa May was accused of quietly dropping a Tory pledge from her election manifesto against the ivory trade.