Each year, at least 20,000 African elephants are illegally killed for their tusks. A recent resurgence in demand for ivory, particularly in China, fuels this rampant poaching epidemic. The elephant ivory trade not only threatens the very survival of this iconic species and causes broader ecological consequences, but also endangers the lives and livelihoods of local people and undermines national and regional security.
Promisingly, we have a historic opportunity to stop the African elephant poaching crisis: China has taken the remarkable step of closing its legal domestic ivory market at the end of 2017; Hong Kong has also agreed to a market closure by 2021; and other Asian countries with open ivory trade and are under substantial pressure to take action.
WWF has successfully driven international action at the highest levels that, along with diplomatic and public pressure from all sides, contributed to the game-changing China ban. Now, we must work quickly to ensure the ban is successful by eliminating remaining consumer demand for ivory and black-market sales. Access to ivory outside China could seriously undermine the effectiveness of China’s ban.
WWF is addressing the root of the problem by working directly with other governments to ensure the eminent closure of their ivory markets, as well as working to understand the underlying motivations of ivory buyers and develop strategies to influence them. Our goal is to create a new social norm of rejecting ivory products.