Applaud China’s Move to Destroy Illegal Ivory


Target: Li Keqiang, Premier of the People’s Republic of China

Goal: Applaud China’s commitment to cracking down on the illegal ivory trade

The Chinese government recently destroyed a portion of its confiscated ivory stockpile. Some have dubbed it a largely symbolic gesture, since the roughly six tons of ivory crushed represents just a fraction of China’s total stock; but this historic first for the nation demonstrates a strengthened commitment to ending illegal smuggling. More than 45 tons of ivory were confiscated in China between 2009-2013 alone.

Many elephant populations around the world are threatened or endangered, and poaching is largely to blame. Elephants are hunted and killed for their tusks in a senseless butchering that fuels the industry. And illegal trade has only increased since the controversial 2008 sale of more than 100 tons of ivory, authorized by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

The Chinese government is not unified in its approach to this crisis. Some want all ivory sales made illegal with all ivory destroyed after prosecution; others are convinced there is no reason to take a tough stance on the trade, since any actions may be criticized regardless. Could China do more? Certainly; and there is hope that the country will. In light of the seriousness of this issue, any steps taken by such a large ivory market should be met with full support. Applaud China’s destruction of illegal ivory and commend the clear message it sends to those who seek to profit from the slaughter of elephants.


Dear Li Keqiang, Premier of the People’s Republic of China,

As someone deeply concerned about the survival of wild elephants, I am grateful for the steps your nation has taken to address the illegal ivory trade. The recent destruction of tons of confiscated ivory is such a crucial step, telling poachers and illegal importers that the practice will not be tolerated.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species estimates that 47,000 African elephants were slaughtered in 2011 and 2012 alone. With poaching on the rise, and as much as 70% of ivory bound for Chinese markets, the United Nations and the world can celebrate this important step in combating illegal trade. By crushing more than six tons of ivory, China demonstrates its clear commitment to the survival of African elephants so threatened by poaching.

While some may argue that six tons is not enough, I applaud this historic and public move by the Chinese government. Without focused actions such as this, there is little hope for the world’s elephants. Thank you for your dedication to ending the illegal ivory trade in China.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Ji-Elle via Wikimedia

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