Newswise — NEW YORK (January 6, 2014) – The Wildlife Conservation Society congratulates China’s State Forestry Administration and the General Administration of Customs for destroying confiscated ivory – a major development in the effort to protect elephants from the ravages of ivory poaching. The ivory was crushed on Monday, January 6th in the city of Guangzhou, Guangdong Province. This destruction of ivory by China is a symbol of the government’s growing responsiveness to the ivory crisis.
Said Cristián Samper, WCS President and CEO. "If China were to destroy the remainder of its ivory stocks and lead the world by committing not to buying ivory in the future, it would have a transformative, positive impact on the survival of African elephants. We congratulate China’s government for showing the world that elephant poaching and illegal ivory consumption is unacceptable. We are hopeful that this gesture shows that we can win the war against poaching and that elephants will once again flourish." On November 14, the U.S. destroyed six tons of illegal ivory to raise awareness about the plight of elephants. In almost all parts of Africa, elephant numbers have plummeted, due largely to the demand for ivory, with an estimated 96 elephants poached each day in 2012. The ivory burning event comes in the wake of a front-page story in the influential Chinese newspaper Southern Weekly last November about the ivory trade. The poaching news subsequently exploded on digital and social media in China, resulting in over a million social media hits within a week after the story was published. Read the English translation here. The story was the first national Chinese media piece that identified Chinese demand and consumption as the main driver of the elephant poaching crisis. In addition, the story highlighted the links between ‘blood ivory’ as a source of funds for terrorist organizations and rebel groups in Africa. China has increased enforcement against wildlife crimes in other parts of the country. Last month authorities in Jilin Province arrested five poachers – the largest ever for the province.
The arrests were made by the Forestry Police of the Hunchun Municipal Forestry Bureau (HMFB), which is one of the members of LECF (Law Enforcement Cooperation Framework) initiated by WCS in 2011. WCS is leading global efforts to save Africa's elephants and end the current poaching and ivory trafficking crisis by working in 11 African nations and 7 Asian countries to stop the killing, stop the trafficking, and stop the demand. Globally, WCS is working to stop consumer's demand for ivory, which drives the killing the killing and trafficking. In China, WCS focuses on mobilizing citizens from awareness to action on the poaching crisis. Our approach is to drive content, primarily through social media, that steers public conversation and enables greater participation against ivory consumption that in turn supports and promotes pro-conservation government policy and enforcement. In the US, WCS seeks national and state moratoria on ivory sales. With WCS help, HMFB has been conducting SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool) patrols and snare removal campaigns, as well as camera trapping in the rural areas outside of Hunchun National Nature Reserve (HNR) since last January. To strengthen anti-poaching and wildlife conservation, HMFB established a special Wildlife Conservation Section in this July. In September, WCS launched its 96 Elephants campaign (96elephants.org) to amplify and support the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) commitment to save Africa’s elephants by stopping the killing, stopping the trafficking, and stopping the demand. The WCS campaign focuses on: securing effective U.S. moratorium laws; bolstering elephant protection with additional funding; and educating the public about the link between ivory consumption and the elephant poaching crisis. In Africa, WCS is stopping the killing on the ground in 13 of Central and Eastern Africa's most important parks--those harboring 26,000 elephants and facing the greatest threat--from Nouabalé-Ndoki in Congo to Ruaha in Tanzania and Niassa in Mozambique. WCS recruits, equips, trains, and deploys park guards, providing aerial and intelligence support, and tracking where guards go, what they see, and what they do. In Africa and Asia, WCS is working with governments to stop wildlife trafficking at the source, transport and consumer ends of the chain. At the source, we build innovative intelligence networks across landscapes to pre-empt and prevent poaching. At transport nodes such as airports and border crossings we work with governments to help detect and stop trafficking using sniffer dogs, apps for customs officials and training for enforcement staff. In the US, WCS seeks national and state moratoria on all purchases and sales of ivory, and in Asia WCS assists concerned citizens who wish to educate their countrymen and women through social media about the lethal cost of ivory to Africa's elephants. ### Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: www.wcs.org; http://www.facebook.com/TheWCS; http://www.youtube.com/user/WCSMedia Follow: @thewcs.