China has started shutting down its licensed ivory carving factories and retail market for rhino horn and elephant ivory.
China is widely believed to be the world’s largest consumer of ivory, both legal and illegal.
It plays a major role in the yearly slaughter of some 30,000 African elephants by poachers.
Ivory is in demand for intricate carvings, trinkets, chopsticks, and other items
China’s shutdown is in accordance with the 2015 announcement by Chinese President Xi Jinping and former US President Barack Obama.
Earlier, the Chinese government promised to shut down its domestic ivory trade by the end of 2017.
President Xi and Obama in December 2016 pledged to enact “nearly complete bans” on the import and export of ivory.
The ban come as a relief for countries such as Kenya, whose iconic wildlife have steadily been increasing.
Environment CS Judi Wakhungu yesterday said the move is as a result of hard work and determination by the government.
“Our focus started in 2013 and what we have done with my counterpart in China is commendable as we have realised a major success,” Wakhungu said.The CS, who spoke to the Star on the phone from Washington, said the announcement by China is majorly due to the bilateral talks that the two countries enjoy.
As of December 31, China’s legal, government-sanctioned ivory trade had come to a close.
This means all of the country’s licensed ivory carving factories and retailers will be shut.
Wakhungu said her ministry will continue working closely with other countries to ensure all domestic trade in ivory is shut down.
China and the US had both agreed to “near-complete” ivory bans, a move that prohibits the buying and selling of all but a limited number of antiques and a few other items.
The US’s ivory ban went into effect in June 2016.
In 2012, some 384 elephants had been poached with the number dropping to 164 in 2014.
In 2013, about 302 were poached. In 2015, the number of poached elephants further dropped to 96.
Equally, the number of poached rhinos came down from 35 in 2014 to 11 in 2015.
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