Success! Historic Step Taken to Protect Elephants

In what’s being hailed as the most significant step taken yet to stop the poaching crisis that’s decimating elephants, President Barack Obama and China’s President Xi Jinping have agreed to ban the sale of ivory in their respective countries.

International trade in ivory has been banned under the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) since 1989, but the growing demand has led to dangerously high levels of poaching that continue to threaten elephant populations. Care2 members and animal rights groups have urged leaders to shut down the ivory trade for years.

Between just 2010 and 2012, 100,000 African elephants were illegally killed for their tusks. By some estimates, these iconic animals could disappear from the landscape entirely in a decade if drastic measures aren’t taken to stop the slaughter, trafficking and demand that’s now taking an estimated 96 elephants a day, or one every 15 minutes.

With China being the world’s largest market for ivory, and some estimates putting the U.S. at second place, the announcement is giving conservationists hope for the future.

According to a joint statement released by the White House on Friday, both countries have promised “to enact nearly complete bans on ivory import and export, including significant and timely restrictions on the import of ivory as hunting trophies, and to take significant and timely steps to halt the domestic commercial trade of ivory.”

In an effort to address illegal sales, both also agreed to cooperate in efforts to fight wildlife trafficking through joint training, information sharing and public education, in addition to enhancing international law enforcement.

The new partnership is being applauded by dozens of conservation organizations that have been working to raise awareness about the problem and encourage governments to take meaningful action.

This announcement follows on the heels of major laws made earlier this summer from the Obama administration, which pledged strict and sweeping regulations that will hopefully wipe out the market for ivory  in the U.S., along with one from China that it would work to end ivory manufacturing and sales. Some lawmakers in the U.S. have a ban — or are working on one — at the state level.

“Today’s announcement is critical to the fate of Africa’s beleaguered and declining elephant populations. The ruthless criminal syndicates operating both in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia may just have lost their biggest market,” said Cristián Samper, President and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

“Even with today’s announcement, it is vital for the world community to stay vigilant in range states by improving protection of wild elephants and dismantling the criminal networks that are driving the trafficking. We must keep emphasizing a comprehensive strategy to stop the killing of elephants, and stop the trafficking and demand for ivory,” he added.

On October 3 and 4, wildlife advocates from around the world will be literally stepping up to raise awareness about the poaching crisis and wildlife trafficking during the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos.

For more info on events and how to help, check out the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos.

Please also sign and share the petition showing support for a ban on ivory in the U.S.

If you have an issue you care about, consider starting a petition and getting help from the Care2 community.


Photo credit: Thinkstock


Mark Donner
Mark Donner3 years ago

I'll believe when I see enforcement. The Chinese government is rotten to the core and the US government is letting poachers get away with crimes. There should be a crackdown in Hawaii and San Francisco but I don't see it.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Georgina Elizab McAlliste
.3 years ago

Thank you Peter P. and Deborah W. I agree with both of you ..ty

Rosemary H.
Rosemary H3 years ago

I am afraid that Deborah W and Peter P are right!

Elephants are much on my mind today, because last night I saw a new film about Tyke, the circus elephant who rebelled against abuse by killing two of those responsible - in public - during a performance - and then escaped, only to be gunned down. :-(((((((

Magnificent elephants are in danger every which way....

Patricia Guilhem
Patricia Guilhem3 years ago

J' espère que ce ne sont pas des paroles en l' air, juste pour faire les gens qui se préoccupent des animaux. J' espère que tout ceci n' est pas du cinéma. A suivre.......

Peter Priskas
Peter P3 years ago

Sounds good on paper but anyone who thinks China will honor this agreement is dreaming. China never honors any agreement and I suspect they signed this for PR reasons only. The only way to protect elephants is to transfer military assets into the the poaching zones including drones, gunships and special forces teams with a full authorization to use lethal force.

As for Obama, a more useful measure would have been to offer the services of the US military in order to help African nations fight poachers rather than signing useless deals with China, a country that has never had any regard for animal welfare. As well as protecting elephants, it would have also had the added benefit of wiping out or hurting designated terror groups like Al-Shabab, Boko Haram and the LRA although I doubt he (or any politician) would ever have the political will to authorize any such deployment. But desperate times call for desperate measures and time is running out for the elephants.

Basically, the problem must be tackled at source rather than hope the Chinese will enforce an ivory ban because we all know they won't.

Ricky T.
Ricky T3 years ago

Excellent news!

federico bortoletto

Grazie delle buone notizie!!!

Julia Cabrera-Woscek

Well... the problem are the poachers... lets see..

Deborah W.
Deborah W3 years ago

HISTORIC SUCCESS ... you're kidding, right?

Banned since 1989, some 100,000 African elephants (that's 96 per day or 1 every 15 minutes) have been ILLEGALLY KILLED ... ownership shared by corrupt governments and customers.

Both countries have PROMISED and AGREED ... when was the last time one compromised with the other in truth and action, followed through beyond empty rhetoric -- NEVER. Oh wait ... maybe this time they didn't cross their fingers.

“Today’s announcement is critical to the fate of Africa’s beleaguered and declining elephant populations. NO SHIT ... and from 1989 forward we can see just how important that is in the lives of those in charge.