Chinese authorities crushed 6.15 tons of seized elephant ivory on Monday in the southern city of Guangzhou. The ivory had been seized during enforcement actions across the country.
Tom Milliken, ivory trade expert at the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC, praised China’s action as having “the potential to reverse the rising trends of elephant poaching and illegal ivory trafficking,” He called the move “an important public statement” on the part of the world’s largest market for illegal ivory.
The destruction follows similar actions by Gabon and the U.S., and a broader crackdown that has seen recent prison convictions of ivory smugglers in China, and the African Elephant Summit in December, where 30 countries agreed on a pact to curb the illicit trade.
China’s insatiable demand for illegal ivory has brought about the slaying of almost 100 elephants every day in 2012, the highest level in at least 16 years. According to preliminary indicators, trafficking may have increased in 2013.