On Monday, the Chinese government plans to destroy several tons of confiscated ivory and other wildlife products in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, demonstrating the Chinese government’s commitment in combatting the multi-billion dollar illegal wildlife trade. African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) lauds the Chinese government for drawing attention to the serious problem of wildlife trafficking. “This is a courageous and critical first step by China to elevate the important issue of wildlife trafficking and elephant poaching among its citizens and around the world,” says African Wildlife Foundation CEO Patrick Bergin. “As the largest market for ivory in the world, China has a very important role to play in helping end the elephant slaughter in Africa. The Chinese government is to be commended for taking the issue seriously.”
In a letter addressed to the United Nations Environment Programme’s China office, China’s Department of International Cooperation and the State Forestry Administration disclosed the government’s concern about the illegal trade in wildlife products and announced their intention to burn illegal ivory and other wildlife products in Guangzhou—a major hub for ivory trade—as invited representatives from foreign embassies, international organizations, and government departments look on.
“China will be joining a number of other countries—including the United States, Kenya, Gabon, the Philippines, and Great Britain—in condemning, at the very top levels of government, the illegal wildlife trade and its consequences,” says Bergin. “Africa’s elephants, if they are to survive, absolutely need China’s support, protection, and leadership. We hope this signals a new chapter in the fight to protect elephants and other wildlife, where China plays a prominent role.”