It could well be a happy new year for the African elephant. In a dramatic, and wholly unexpected December 31 announcement, the Chinese government officially announced that it would ban any trading in modern ivory (with the notable and welcome exception of genuine antiquities) by the end of 2017. The ban will begin to take effect, gradually, from March 2017.
Photo courtesy Chinese Art in Scotland
China does, of course, represent the largest market in the world for ivory and such a ban will positively impact upon the preservation of dwindling elephant stock (it is estimated that one African elephant dies to the hands of poachers every fifteen minutes). An effective Chinese ban will significantly help stem the flow of modern ivory coming onto the market. Genuine antiques will still be tradeable under the new directive.
All responsible dealers will be glad to hear this most important piece of news. A Happy New Year to you all!