Is China losing its taste for ivory?


Top society and culture news for March 29, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "Xi plants trees, Trump plans smog."

Writing in the Washington Post, Simon Denyer reports that “China will close 67 ivory carving factories and retail shops on Friday, roughly one-third of the total,” adding that the country plans to end all domestic ivory sales by the end of the year. The article quotes the chief executive of WildAid, who stated, “These closures prove that China means business in closing down the ivory trade and helping the African elephant.” Moreover, prices for ivory are plunging, according to the organization Save the Elephants, which reports that the average wholesale price of tusks fell to $730 per kilogram in February 2017, down from $2,100 three years ago.

However, it remains to be seen whether the end of legal sales of ivory will stop the trade completely. For a look at some of the challenges facing Africa’s elephants and rhinos, you can listen to our Sinica Podcast on rhino horn and organized crime, from Africa to China and Vietnam.