China announced this past December that it was banning all commerce in ivory by the end of 2017! That single act may prove to be the biggest sign of hope for saving the species since the poaching crisis began.
Elephants are getting dangerously close to extinction because the demand for their ivory has skyrocketed. China is the world’s largest consumer of elephant ivory, so this measure is a huge first step. What a relief that the Chinese government recognizes the importance of protecting these incredible animals!
There will be an effect on many people who work in the ivory sector, but the Chinese Ministry of Culture has vowed to help transition ivory workers into related jobs that aren’t threatening the welfare of these beloved animals. Existing art made from ivory will still be displayed in museums and art galleries because it is so ingrained in the culture, but only for exhibition or non-commercial purposes.
It will be über important for other countries to follow China’s lead to shut down the ivory trade altogether. The U.S. has banned ivory trade at the federal level, and in many states as well, but there are still battles to be won to bring elephants back to a thriving population. Bravo to China for making a great start!
Spark the Conversation: Who doesn’t love the cute and cuddly elephant? Okay, maybe 12,000 lbs isn’t exactly cuddly, but still beautiful! Discuss with your girl what it means for an animal to become extinct and what would motivate poachers or hunters to illegally kill an animal. Ask her what she thinks about this and whose responsibility she thinks it is to look after the species.
This conversation can even branch out into animals in captivity. As a young person, your daughter has probably experienced a zoo or circus where animals were in captivity. Help her think through the implications and help her form an opinion on how this can help or hinder preservation.