The price of ivory in China has dropped by nearly 50% in the last 18 months, as public opinion shifts and the government ramps up a complete ban on its sale.
Once seen as a sign of people’s wealth, fewer Chinese are buying ivory — a tradition that had fueled elephant poaching in Africa.
A new study by wildlife group Save the Elephants shows public opinion in China has swung wildly against the ivory trade since 2012 when less than half of the population thought it posed a problem. Today, 71% oppose the trade.
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That appears to be driving an 85% plummet in the number of Chinese ivory purchases since 2012, and the subsequent price cut from $4,600 a pound to $2,400.
“The ivory price collapse in China is much-needed good news for Africa’s elephants,” WildAid CEO Peter Knights said.
He told the Washington Post it makes all the difference between “the light at the end of the tunnel and extinction.”
Part of the change comes from government action, including President Xi Jinping signing an agreement with the U.S. to ban ivory sales and crack down on poachers. Another part comes from a blitz of public service announcements by wildlife groups.
China’s state run media has given $42 million in free airtime to organizations battling the trading of ivory, rhino horns, and shark fins. The WildAid announcement below, featuring basketball star Yao Ming, Britain’s Prince William, and soccer legend David Beckham, ran more than 70 times in a single day.
(WATCH the video below from WildAid) — Photo: VaughanLeiberum, CC
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