Kenya’s campaign to safeguard her elephants enters an important phase today when the ban on commercial processing and sale of ivory comes into effect.
All registered traders will be phased out, bringing to a halt the market by the end of the year.
There are indications that milestones have been achieved as there has been a significant fall in ivory trade in China – by almost two-thirds in the past three years.
A new research released on Wednesday points out that one of the reasons for the fall in ivory trade is the commitment made by the Chinese government to close all domestic trade in tusks and ivory products.
The new report by Save the Elephants consultants Lucy Vigne and Esmond Martin details a decline in the retail market up to the end of 2015.
“The price of ivory is falling as people realise that they have to get rid of the ivory they have before the ban on its trade takes effect,” said Dr Martin of the University of Liverpool, who has done extensive research on the ivory trade in Africa since the 1960s.
Martin said the trade in ivory is no longer sustainable for China since it has become a high-risk and low-return investment.
He further pointed out that the drop in the price of ivory in China is directly proportional to the drop in the incidents of poaching in Kenya.
The updated decline in wholesale prices was conducted in January 2017.
In early 2014, the wholesale price of tusks was Sh210, 000 for kilogramme of ivory and dropped to Sh110, 000 in 2015. The latest update shows that by January, the prices had dropped to Sh73, 000.
China’s 34 ivory factories are closing today.
By the end of the year, the 130 retail outlets for ivory will be closed and this could deal the final blow on elephant poaching, which has led to a drastic decline in the number of the animals to just 415,000 currently globally.
“Findings from 2015 and 2016 in China show that the legal ivory trade, especially, has been severely diminished,”said Vigne.