Ivory Trade

How China’s Ban On Ivory Affects Kenya

The latest Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITE) Conference of the Parties took place between 24th September and 5th October 2016 in Johannesburg South Africa. At its conclusion, a key resolution was passed that has been described as historic and a game changer for the future of elephants. This key resolution dealt with the closure of domestic elephant markets and was backed by China. Following the resolution, China announced a ban on all ivory trade and processing by the end of 2017.

The poaching crisis has led to Africa losing $ 25 million in tourism revenue. This affects Kenya’s Ksh 87 billion elephant eco-tourism sector. This has a ripple effect in the country as people lose their jobs and cannot educate their children. This leads to an increase in illiteracy and an increase in crime which affects the entire country’s development.

This statement from Rob Brandford, Executive Director of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust shows why China’s ban is so important:

“China has the potential to be the saviour of elephants if it is serious and truly committed to ending the ivory trade. As the largest consumer of ivory with an estimated 70% of the globes ivory being sold on China’s black market, this recent announcement (if enacted properly) could help to put an end to the mixed messages and grey area that currently exists. This law will make it harder for people to buy ivory and as such, make it harder for illegal ivory to be filtered into the market, which will not exist. So there’s no doubt that it could help reduce the poaching of Africa’s elephants. As long living and slow reproducing animals, elephants need a reprieve from poaching so that numbers can recover so this is a positive step forward.”

Sanford also notes that the ban will have no real use if it is not implemented properly and that there is an additional worry that the illegal trade will just be relocated to countries neighboring China such as Vietnam and Thailand.
With China’s ban on ivory trade it is hoped that other countries such as the UK and Hong Kong will follow suite so that poaching will see a reduction if not come to a complete end. The elephant population in the country will have time to recover from its current near extinction levels and the increasing numbers will ensure that the tourism industry remains secure and continues to thrive.