China Plans To Phase Out Domestic Ivory Market, Crack Down On Illegal Trade

Last month China's state government and its largest social media platform began tightening measures to protect the endangered African elephant.

Credit: AnimalsTime

Credit: AnimalsTime

The illegal ivory trade in China was dealt two major blows last month when the state government and the country’s largest social media platform began tightening its measures to protect the endangered African elephant.

The Chinese government said that it was working to close down the nation’s legal domestic ivory market after 662 kilograms of confiscated illegal ivory (1500 lbs) were destroyed in Beijing – within public view – last month.

Said the May 29 announcement from the State Forestry Administration, Chinese authorities will “strictly control ivory processing and trade until the commercial processing and sale of ivory and its products are eventually halted.”

Credit: TakePart

Credit: TakePart

“This decision will have a profound impact on wild elephant conservation and ivory trafficking,” said Lo Sze Ping, Chief Executive Officer of WWW China.

The recent destruction of tusks and carved ivory follows another ivory destruction event which was held in Guangdong, China, in January 2014. Then 6.15 tons of confiscated ivory were crushed, sending a clear message to poachers and illegal traders that such activities would no longer be tolerated.

And in addition, the Chinese internet giant with the most widely-used social media platform and message app – Weixin (WeChat) – has launched a campaign to combat illegal online wildlife trade. Tencent, which founded the Weixin and QQ Microblog platforms, has already contributed to the shutting down of social media accounts proven to be involved in illegal online wildlife business activities.

Tencent partnered with The Nature Conservancy and the International Fund for Animal Welfare, launching an official account on Weixin called ‘Tencent for the Planet’. The aim of this account is to provide a reporting channel for shutting down illegal activities online. This is after it had learned through user complaints about the steady growth of illegal wildlife trade on the internet.

And finally, to promote elephant conservation awareness, Tencent has opened a voting process for Weixin users to establish a new set of emoji featuring elephants.

China is not alone in its efforts to conserve elephant populations. Other nations and territories to destroy ivory stockpiles include Belgium, Republic of Congo, France, Gabon, Hong Kong, Kenya, UAE and the USA.

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