Stop All Ivory Trade. Who Else Has To Ask Before China Listens?

UPDATE: Follow up blog China announces 1 year ban on ivory imports – does it stack up?

Along with the voices of numerous wildlife conservation experts, campaigners and well-known public figures, perhaps the most authoritative individual in the world when it comes to wildlife conservation and protection, Sir David Attenborough, is calling on the Chinese government to end all trade in ivory.

Here at Born Free, we’ve been saying for ages that strengthening measures to stop the illegal trade which has caused the death of hundreds of thousands of elephants, not to mention has taken the lives of rangers and, yes, poachers as well, and is only one part of the puzzle and will not achieve our ultimate objective while legal domestic ivory markets persist.  Ivory is legally, openly on sale in China.  It is openly on sale in Thailand (where a new report on DNA testing confirms that the majority is of African origin).

These ‘parallel markets’ create an enforcement nightmare. How do Customs’ officials know what is legal, what is illegal?  They create the opportunity for smuggled ivory to be entered into a legitimate commercial environment.  They make crime pay.

So the question is simple: Will the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, recognise the threat to elephants, rangers and human life in Africa that perpetuating his country’s legal domestic market represents; acknowledge the threat to international security caused by the illegal wildlife trade; understand the now widely-recognised links between wildlife crime, organised crime and the subversive activities of militia and other destabilising terrorist organisations in many parts of Africa and the rest of the world? Will he take action?

Closing down the legal ivory markets of China, Thailand and elsewhere, is a small price to pay in order to stop the suffering, save the elephants and give peace a chance.

Blogging off.


13 Responses to “Stop All Ivory Trade. Who Else Has To Ask Before China Listens?”

  1. Christine Robinson Says:

    Hi Will, I am one of your adopters & members and I totally agree obviously.
    It is very difficult when elephants are being killed just to make ivory objects for the rich and as long as they continue to endorse ivory products where will it all end, no more elephants in the world in the wild which saddens me a great deal, I have seen the effects this has like we all have.

    Seeing dead elephants killed by poachers on videos and TV sickens me, such a waste, these beautiful intelligent creatures murdered for one thing and one thing only greed & money !!!!

    Please, please China see some sense now and stop ivory production and also Thailand before we never see an African elephant again :( .

    Thank you Will and your Mum and all at Born Free for the brilliant work you do tirelessly for the beautiful animals that need our voice and our protection and hopefully one day we see peace and harmony living among all the animals that live on the Earth, it is their planet too.

    Take care all the best Christine xx

  2. Solis Richard Says:

    Please allow these world treasures to survive!

  3. Anita Nicholas Says:

    wE WANT Elephants and other animals to be safe from horn poachers and murderers

  4. Kate White Says:

    I really believe that the only sustainable answer to the problem is to understand the people who buy it, understand why they buy it, to understand the culture and start from there, after all if they stop buying it the whole thing collapses and poachers won’t be needed and it all becomes worthless.They don’t care about the elephants because if they did they wouldn’t buy Ivory, what would make them stop buying it, who would they really listen too – politicians, celebrities ? who do they follow?, is it a trend? could the trend move on to something else? Start at the roots and work up.

  5. Grace Stretton Says:


  6. Katherine Hoot Says:

    stop the killing

  7. Lisa Lammon Says:

    Im signing this so someone will help.. its been going on way to long.. someone please help..

  8. Brenda whaley Says:


  9. Alex Alexander Says:

    this practice needs to end

  10. Fiona McKinley Says:

    I wish with all my heart that the people of China listen to Sir David Attenborough. This really is the elephants’ last chance for survival as I read recently somewhere that a survey revealed that ivory was owned by around 80% of the Chinese population. I believe that this ever-increasing demand for ivory can only be stopped by the Chinese President and the authorities enforcing the law. Education and appeals for compassion for these wonderful intelligent and sensitive creatures are being ignored because of their greed, if this fails then there really is no hope.

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank the two Northern Ireland MPs who added their support to Sir David’s letter, but am disappointed that there weren’t more, especially Alasdair McDonnell, MP for my area, South Belfast.

    Thank you to everyone, especially Sir David, all at Born Free and the David Sheldrick Trust.

  11. Gill Gilbey Says:

    Dear Wil,
    Maybe The Letter and Prince William’s imminent visit to China will have some effect!

  12. Sharon Reichter Says:

    It’s time to recognise that elephants are animals that feel deeply and this trade has to stop. I can’t find words to express how it hurts my heart when I read and see what happens to them. Please listen – please listen to your heart.

  13. Lisa Corbett Says:

    Please stop the murder of these beautiful creatures, let’s hope that the people of china listen to the words of Sir David Attenborough and stop the need and greed for Ivory! Let these wonderful creatures live in peace without the fear of being hunted. How would the Chinese people feel if their precious Pandas where being hunted the same way?