BEIJING, Dec. 30, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- After decades of advocating by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) for shutting down domestic ivory markets, today the Chinese Government delivered on their pledge to close domestic ivory markets in 2017.
"This is a tremendous victory for elephants and we applaud China for showing such decisive action and leadership on this issue," said Azzedine Downes IFAW President and CEO.
The announcement stipulates a phased schedule to revoke some licenses by March 2017 and to eventually stop all commercial ivory carving and retail sales by the end of 2017. The plan also encourages shifting carvers to other materials and preserving ivory carvings for their non-commercial cultural value.
"With China so clearly stating that the world does not need ivory products, perhaps 2017 will be the year that we will see the end of the poaching crisis," said Grace Ge Gabriel IFAW Asia Regional Director. "To stop the slaughter of elephants, we have to break every link on the trade chain—from poaching to trafficking to demand."
The United States has also been a leader in stopping the trade in ivory – from the destruction of ivory, to the implementation of strict ivory regulations to the joint commitment with China to end domestic ivory trade and save elephants.
"Today's announcement is absolutely essential in the fight to save elephants," said Beth Allgood IFAW U.S. Country Director. "The US and China must remain global leaders together and we invite other countries around the world to continue to join us in our steadfast commitment. We cannot waiver with elephants at such a tipping point."
"IFAW has been a leader on efforts to save elephants – from work on the ground preventing poaching, to efforts to stop the trafficking and also changing behavior to reduce consumer demand," said Downes. "This is the culmination of years of effort and is a wonderful way to end 2016."
Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
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SOURCE International Fund for Animal Welfare