Success: U.S. and China Make Deal to Ban Ivory Trade

elephants_brian snelson

Target: President Xi Jinping

Goal: Thank China for agreeing to an ivory ban that could save elephants from extinction.

President Barack Obama and China President Xi Jinping have agreed to ban the import and export of ivory, an industry that has been devastating to the elephant population. This promise by the two superpowers is being hailed as the most significant step yet in shutting down the ivory industry. Activists, including the ForceChange community, have been very vocal about the threat of poaching on the future of elephants’ existence, and global outrage has helped influence the need for tougher restrictions.

The United States already has a near-total ban on commercial ivory, but China’s government, up until recently, promoted it. China’s thriving middle class has boosted the demand for ivory, which is seen as a symbol of high status in their society. The Chinese government had previously raised the prices of ivory, which allowed poachers to make more profit from it. Many who take part in the illegal killing of elephants for the ivory trade are part of gangs and terrorist organizations. Without China backing down, these poachers wouldn’t opt out of this lucrative industry.

The agreement is the first time the Presidents of the United States and China have made a specific shared commitment to protect wildlife. It’s put ivory trafficking on the agenda of two of the most influential political leaders in the world. China has committed to restrict their domestic ivory trade, including the import of ivory hunting trophies. The agreement will also expand China’s training and law enforcement on keeping out illegal ivory while creating public education and information on ivory’s wildlife atrocities.

China’s ivory ban is the largest single step in stopping elephant poaching, according to Peter Knights, the executive director of the advocacy group WildAid. Thank the Chinese President for agreeing to this ban.


Dear President Jinping,

I want to give you my sincere gratitude for taking an important step in ending elephant poaching. The ivory trade is devastating to the elephant community and is killing them at such an alarming rate that some species are now feared to be reaching extinction. Elephants are beautiful, social and intelligent creatures whose lives are far too valuable to be exploited for ivory products.

I recognize China’s large industry in ivory and am glad that you enacted the necessary changes to stop your role in elephant poaching. The commercial trade of ivory in cities such as Hong Kong provided access to ivory laundering, and an ivory ban in China was necessary to curb this illegal activity.

The agreement between you and President Obama is monumental and is being celebrated by wildlife activists. It signals China’s wildlife conservation efforts and its influence will be felt in the illegal ivory market. Thank you for enacting an ivory ban and helping to save the elephant community.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Brian Snelson

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  1. The agreement is a significant first step (and long overdue) towards saving our precious elephants. What is most important, however, is REALLY TOUGH sentencing and STRONG enforcement, for EVERYONE involved in poaching, including the ultimate consumer, in addition to increased protections for the elephants. Without those, this is just a show of political rhetoric. Let’s hope both countries are, FINALLY, going to help save these magnificent iconic animals! They are beloved, worldwide!

  2. Now if they can stop the PEOPLE who do it on the sly by being paid to born PROTECT and tell the poachers where to find them..are they using the new dog being trained to stop poaching???

  3. Let’s ensure this DEAL is taken seriously by all parties — our elephants, our rhinos, our wildlife need to be protected and respected.

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