by Jamison Maeda
Numbering as many as 5 million in the early 20th century, the population of the majestic African elephant has been reduced to only a few hundred thousand due to the demand for ivory by the world’s nouveau riche. It is estimated that 100 elephants are brutally killed each day by poachers.
But last week, China announced a ban on its ivory trade by the end of 2017. This is a cause for excitement for animal activists around the globe.
“It’s a game-changer, and could be the pivotal turning point that brings elephants back from the brink of extinction,” says Elly Pepper, of the Natural Resources Defense Council in New York. “…ending the legal ivory trade in China, the world’s largest consumer of elephant ivory, is critical to saving the species.”
Conservation group WWF also welcomed China’s announcement as a signal of the end to the world’s primary legal ivory market,and a “major boost to international efforts to tackle the elephant poaching crisis…”