China announced today that it will close its domestic commercial elephant ivory trade in 2017. President Xi Jinping had announced last year that the country would take this action and now there is a timeline—great news for elephants.
“I am very proud of my country for showing this leadership that will help ensure that elephants have a fighting chance to beat extinction,” said WCS’s Asia Executive Director Aili Kang in a statement. “This is a game changer for Africa’s elephants.”
This action by China has come as momentum has been building to close domestic ivory markets around the globe. In 2016, IUCN at the World Conservation Congress voted to support the closing of all domestic ivory markets, and subsequently, the CITES Cop17 recommended that all countries close those markets. In addition, the United States enacted a regulation in 2016 to close its domestic elephant ivory market.