One elephant is killed by poachers for their ivory tusks every 15 minutes. Between the high demand for ivory and the ever-dwindling wild elephant population, poachers are getting increasingly aggressive. Many scientists believe that if nothing is done to end the illegal ivory trade, elephants will go extinct from the wild in the next twenty years.

All for the sake of trinkets, statues and name plates.

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Thankfully, there are many people rallying to end the illegal ivory trade and put a stop to the senseless slaughter of the world’s elephants. Organizations, individuals and governments across the globe are standing up to protect this vital species, hopefully before it is too late.

China has just taken an enormous step to stave off the ivory trade by enacting a ban on the import of ivory that goes into effect today.

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According to the Associated Press, “The State Administration of Forestry declared the ban in a public notice posted on its official site, in which it said the administration would not handle any import request.”

A Chinese forestry official explained to Legal Evening News that the ban is meant to be a concrete step towards reducing the demand for ivory and consequently help to protect African elephants.

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As the world’s largest market for illegal and smuggled ivory, this action will undoubtedly make a difference for wild elephant populations. The word for “ivory” in Chinese translates to “tooth,” and as a poll carried out by the International Fund for Animals shows, this misnomer has led around 70 percent of the Chinese population to believe elephant’s do not have to die to give their ivory. Rather, they think the tusks fall out like a tooth would, thus fueling the market for ivory.

The one-year ban is meant to give Chinese officials time to evaluate the extent of the ivory trade in the country and devise effective plans to combat its perpetuation.

For the sake of elephants everywhere, we could not be more pleased to hear this news and look forward to future steps that will help to save this iconic species from extinction.

Image source: Richard Towell/Flickr