China to ban all ivory trade by end of 2017

China has planned to phase out all ivory processing and trade by the end of 2017.
“Dozens of the country’s 34 processing companies and 143 trading venues will be closed by the end of March 2017,’’ the media report said.
According to conservation organisations, China have overtaken Japan in 2011 to become the world’s largest ivory consumer, with its legal domestic ivory market often providing cover for illegal ivory.
Earlier this year, China had announced it would ban the trade, but the government had not yet committed itself to a timetable.
“China’s announcement is a game changer for elephant conservation.
“The large-scale trade of ivory now faces its twilight years and the future is brighter for wild elephants,’’  President and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund Carter Roberts, said.
All international commercial trade of ivory has been illegal since 1990 according to the United Nations’ Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
China’s domestic trade, however, persisted and demand for ivory continued to decimate elephant populations globally.
Some Chinese believe that rhino horn has important medicinal and aphrodisiac properties, and it is also seen as a status symbol.
According to the Save the Rhino conservation organisation, the number of rhinos poached in South Africa has increased from 13 in 2007 to 1,175 in 2015.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature, Africa’s elephant population has dropped by 111,000 to 415,000 since poaching surged in 2006.
Earlier this year, the U.S. government issued new regulations to impose a near-complete ban on its domestic ivory trade.