China destroys six tons of ivory in an effort to curb elephant poaching

An elephant runs in the Masai Mara in Kenya. Photo by Flickr user brittanyhock

Chinese authorities destroyed more than six tons of confiscated ivory ornaments and tusks Monday in Dongguan, a city known as a major hub for ivory trade, the New York Times reports.

Environmentalists and researchers have identified China’s demand for ivory as a major factor driving international elephant poaching, which is reaching crisis levels. The event was attended by state officials, foreign diplomats and wildlife campaigners. Environmentalists said they hope the event will raise awareness in China of elephant poaching. Cristián Samper, the president of Wildlife Conservation Society, wrote in a statement that he hopes this gesture will allow elephants to flourish again.
“If China were to destroy the remainder of its ivory stocks and lead the world by committing not to buying ivory in the future,” Samper told the New York Times, “it would have a transformative, positive impact on the survival of African elephants.”

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