China bans ivory imports ahead of Prince William’s visit
China has banned ivory imports ahead of Britain’s Prince William’s visit.
The country has announced a one-year ban on the import of African ivory carvings ahead of the visit from the 32-year-old royal – who is a strong critic of the trade – next week.
China is to halt approval for imports until late February next year, the news agency Xinhua has revealed, citing the State Forestry Administration, who regulate the trade.
The Duke of Cambridge has been critical of China’s consumption of ivory in the past while animal rights groups say the country’s appetite for the material has caused a surge in poaching in Africa.
Xinhua said: “The move is to protect African elephants, and the one-year timeframe is designed to assess the effects.”
Last year China crushed over six tonnes of confiscated ivory in its first public destruction of it stockpile, however, the country is still at the top of rankings of the world’s biggest buyer of poached ivory, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
A Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) monitoring programme found that over 20,000 African elephants were killed for ivory in 2013, leaving behind an estimated population of 500,000.