China announces 1 year ban on ivory imports – does it stack up?

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.

Blogging off

Will

8 Responses to “China announces 1 year ban on ivory imports – does it stack up?”

  1. Gill Gilbey Says:

    Dear Will,
    To my mind its quite simple,a 1 year ban on ivory imports should mean a ban on anything at any time that has BEEN REMOVED FROM AN ELEPHANT.
    CITES needs to reform,as elephants are endangered this pre 1947 and 1976 nonsense is a big loophole allowing poaching to continue.
    We must keep up the pressure on all those countries responsible for the killing of elephants by trading in ivory.

  2. Lee Illingworth Says:

    Couldn’t agree more with the sentiment of the blog. Let’s hope that this is a move in the right direction and not a smoke screen to deflect attention from Prince William’s speech on the 4th March.

  3. Lee Fister Says:

    Let the animals live & don’t kill them nature is sweet be good to nature don’t kill it let the animals live!

  4. Judy Brey Says:

    A one year ban is useless, a PR move but who are they kidding? Crime syndicates, demand, trade will continue to thrive, more elephants will die, I’m not impressed. A permanent ban is the only way to save the species. CITES seems so ineffective and can’t be trusted when former officials leave to help China import elephants for a lifetime of suffering in their horrific zoos. We must keep the pressure on. Their culture needs to change. They gave up foot binding, they can give up Ivory. Shut down the carving factories for good.

  5. Leonard kamaika Says:

    It sound good to the conservist and lovers of nature.. Bt they should have done it more by banning it completely

  6. Phyllis Ainsworth White Says:

    I am skeptical that this ban will do much. However, I agree that at least it suggests that China is listening. Those of us who cannot imagine a world without wild, free elephants, must continue fighting for the basic rights of the elephant. The elephant does not exist for our entertainment. The more we learn about the complexity of elephant society, the less sense the enslavement of the elephant in zoos and circuses makes sense, if it ever did make sense. We owe a great debt to the elephant; an enormous apology, if you will. What I do know for certain is that ivory belongs to the elephant and only the elephant. No elephant should be living a solitary existence. I do not know if my heart will ever stop breaking over the image of Mali, who has been called the loneliest elephant in the world, so lonely she holds her own tail. But she isn’t the only one. There’s Nosey who has been so used and abused and now she’s been spirited away, apparently to be used and abused some more rather than allowed to be released to a sanctuary. I am ashamed I have paid to see an elephant in a zoo, somehow ignoring the chain around its leg. Beyonce rides a baby elephant while on vacation and there was some backlash, but not like there should have been. There should have been world wide outrage. I cried when my daddy took me to the circus when I was a little girl. I begged to leave because they were beating the elephants and using whips on other animals. I am rambling and could continue to ramble for a lot longer. The shame over the mistreatment of the elephant runs so deep. So China’s one year ban on importing ivory is a start I guess. But I do not think it is enough. We owe them so much.

  7. Dave Says:

    Dear Sir or Madam

    PLEASE MAKE IT CLEAR TO YOUR PEOPLE , IVORY IS DESTROYING OUR WILD-LIFE FOR EVERY-ONE , TIGER PARTS , IT HAS BEEN CONFIRMED , DO NOT HAVE ANY SEXUAL INGREDIANTS FOR HUMANS , IF WE KEEP KILLING THEM , OUR CHILDREN WILL ONLY SEE THESE WILD ANIMALS IN PHOTOS , IS THIS REALY WHAT YOU WANT FOR YOUR CHILDREN , THEIR CHILDREN , AND SO ON .?

    Please ban ALL these things , for-ever THANK YOU

  8. alison dowdeswell Says:

    A move in the right direction by China but is this tokenism. It is not nearly enough! Only a total forever ban on the ivory trade globally is going to work. We owe the elephant an enormous apology for the way these great gentle creatures have suffered at our hands whether knowingly or unknowingly. If human beings do not change their behaviour very quickly we will have nothing left of our global wildlife and the world will just be one big farm. We need to work at the wider social issues surrounding our wildlife so that all peoples feel they have a genuine stake in their survival in the wild or something as near as possible approaching the wild. We need to work at resolving human predator conflict with local people and learn as human beings to live sustainably and share our planet with other flora and fauna. We can and must do this