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Image Credit: IFAW

Image Credit: IFAW

On Friday, China State Forestry Administration (SFA) and General Administration of Customs (GAC) jointly crushed 662 kg confiscated ivory of all concluded cases since 2014 at Beijing Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW, www.ifaw.org) is invited to attend the ivory crush. “IFAW strongly supports the Chinese government to publically destroy ivory. This crushing, the second in as many years, demonstrates China’s commitment to end illegal ivory trade,” said Grace Ge Gabriel, Asia Regional Director of IFAW. “The 662 kg of confiscated ivory from the closed cases is the result of vigorous enforcement actions by SFA, GAC, State Forestry Police and other enforcement agencies. Enforcement operations such as Operation Cobra series have achieved remarkable deterrent effect to wildlife criminals in and outside of China.”

“In the future, the Chinese government will continue to enhance wildlife conservation with no hideout for illegal wildlife trade including ivory trafficking in China. Under the legal framework of CITES and domestic laws and regulations, we will strictly control ivory processing and trade until the commercial processing and sale of ivory and its products are eventually halted.” said Mr. Zhao Shucong, Minister of SFA, at the destruction event.

Ivory trade is pushing endangered elephants towards extinction. Every year, 25,000-30,000 African Elephants are poached to supply the ivory trade. According to the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS), in recent years, the volume from large-scale ivory seizures has been setting new records. In 2013, enforcement agencies around the world seized 41.6 tonnes of ivory, representing a 71% percent increase from 2009. Research shows that for slow-growing, long-living species like the elephant, when mortality rate reaches 6% the population risks crashing. However in many regions of Africa, elephant populations are declining at a rate of 11%-12% because of ivory trade.

“Public destruction of confiscated ivory, together with vigorous enforcement, raises the cost for engaging in wildlife crime and warns the public about the criminal nature of ivory trade. Such measures help stigmatize ivory consumption and reduce demand,” said Gabriel.

To combat global illegal ivory trade, more countries have publicly destroyed seized ivory this year. Kenya, Ethiopia, United Arab Emirates and the Republic of Congo together torched more than 36 tonne of ivory. IFAW France office also organized a public destruction of unwanted ivory donated by the general public. From African elephant range states to smuggling transit routes to consuming countries, every link on the transnational ivory trade chain have been covered by these series of actions.

“Combating illegal ivory trade requires the effort of the whole world. China will continue to enhance global collaboration, strengthen regulation and enforcement, and further improve the laws to control illegal ivory trade,” said Dr. Xianlin Meng, the executive deputy director of China CITES Management Authority.

A follower of IFAW’s microblog commented: “Contraband ivory tusks are loots.  They should be destroyed instead of consumed. What we should feel regret for are the lives of elephants vanished because of the evil trade, but not the meaningless value we attach to ivory. Let’s all give a ‘Like’ to the government’s action!”

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About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)

Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis 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.

This article was originally posted on IFAW’s website. It has been reprinted here with permission.

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