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China's ivory ban: hope for African elephants

Elephants in Tanzania's Ruaha national wildlife park.     Photo: Anna Rydin / Wikimedia

 

China has pledged to phase out manufacture and sale of products made of ivory, which is good news for the endangered African elephants, whose tusks are the source of the ivory.

 

An article in Telegraph (UK) credits Britain's Prince William with bringing up the issue during a March trip to China, but it seems certain there's more to it than that, since the issue has been raised for years by conservationists, who point to Chinese market demand as the force behind the illegal slaughter of African elephants in wildlife parks and preserves.

 

Tanzania, home to most of the largest elephant herds, has reported the killing of more than 65,000 elephants in the past five years, producing over 45 tons of ivory. In one area, Ruaha national park, the killings have reduced the elephant population to less than 25% of what it was only five years ago.

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