In response to China officially closing its domestic ivory markets, effective December 31, 2017, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued the following statement from Ginette Hemley, senior vice president, wildlife conservation:
“Decades from now, we may point back to this as one of the most important days in the history of elephant conservation. China has followed through on a great promise it made to the world, offering hope for the future of elephants.
“New research shows broad support for ending ivory trade among Chinese consumers, but awareness of this ban remains low, and consumer desire for ivory persists. It’s critical that the new law be well publicized, and that authorities in China robustly enforce the ban. At the same time, remaining demand for ivory must be addressed and redirected, not simply ignored.
“This ban alone won’t end the poaching of elephants. It’s equally critical that China’s neighbors follow suit and shut down ivory markets across Asia. Only then can we ensure the open trade doesn’t simply shift to other countries and offer traffickers safe channels for newly-poached ivory.
“The fate of Africa’s elephants depends on global rejection of ivory trade, and governments hold the key to driving this.”