Every day something new! The Chinese Government has introduced a one year, temporary ivory import ban… Sounds good – but is it?
All imports of new tusks and pieces are banned anyway.
It is unclear what imports this will directly impact. It could be the limited number of small ivory carvings known as ‘ekipas’ which can be legally exported from Namibia. It could be the kilo or so of ivory that Zimbabwe (bizarrely) allows people to export.
However, there is no confirmation that I can find stating that this will prevent the import of what is known as ‘Pre-Convention’ ivory, ivory that can be established to have been sourced prior to African elephants being listed on the CITES Appendices (so about 1976). And I also can’t yet determine whether the ban will apply to antique ivory carvings (usually certified as pre-1949).
So, in the absence of hard facts I can only assume that the impact of this ban will be very, very limited indeed!
However, it does suggest that China is listening, even if the measures needed are far more significant.
And it does make me think that now is the time for all countries to take a brave but vital step and close down their domestic ivory markets. There are huge volumes of ivory sold domestically in the USA, in Europe and in countries such as China and Thailand. The single, most powerful signal that, as a species, we are DONE with ivory, would be to shut down all markets, international and domestic, for all ivory, new, old, carved, raw… ALL IVORY.
Then we can all truly get on with the vital business of protecting elephants and the many other beleaguered species whose fate hangs so precariously in the balance.