From Business Daily Africa.
Asian demand for ornamental ivory is soaring with China’s newly affluent citizens acquiring purchasing power, but that’s not what’s causing poaching of elephants in Africa, a Chinese official said, according to a report in Business Daily Africa.
Some wildlife groups estimate more than 90 percent of the ivory sold in China comes from the illegal slaughter of African elephants, the report says.
It’s unfair to blame China for poaching, said China’s chief engineer of the wildlife conservation department under the State Forestry Administration.
“Has China’s legal ivory trade caused the poaching of wild elephants? I don’t think there’s necessarily a connection,” Yan Xun said in a press briefing, according to the report.
Xun said in the report there were many other possible reasons for poaching elephants, including competition between people and elephants for resources, livelihood issues for local people, war and a mistaken belief that ivory generates huge profits.
All Chinese companies dealing in ivory must share a total of 11,000 pounds of ivory, obtained legally, per year, he said.
China is the world’s largest illegal ivory market, followed by Thailand, says the World Wide Fund for Nature, according to the report.
Hoping to avoid international trade sanctions after criticism by environmental groups, Thailand’s prime minister said earlier this year her country would ban the ivory trade, the report said.
Read more at Business Daily Africa.