Newswise — (New York, NY, Feb. 27, 2015) – The following statement was released by WCS President and CEO Cristián Samper on China's announcement of a one-year ban on ivory imports. Samper also serves on President Obama's Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking:

“WCS welcomes yesterday's announcement by the Government of China that it has imposed a one-year ban on ivory imports into the country. This action shows leadership by the world’s largest ivory consumer nation and we hope to see additional and stronger action by officials in China on limiting the on-going demand of ivory in their nation.

“While we welcome this announcement and the recognition by China of the serious crisis facing Africa’s elephants, we note that the importation of elephant ivory by all nations is already prohibited by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), with some small exceptions.

“Furthermore, limiting the ban to one year and restricting it to just imports (i.e. excluding the sale of ivory in China) will prove insufficient to end the poaching crisis affecting Africa’s elephants. A lengthy moratorium on all domestic ivory sales, as well as imports, is the greatest hope for Africa's elephants and for quashing the transnational crime of elephant poaching and ivory trafficking that undermines local, regional, and global security.

“An estimated 35,000 elephants are poached annually to feed the global demand for ivory. That’s 96 elephants killed every day. Africa’s forest elephants have been reduced by 65 percent since 2002. At WCS, we strongly endorse a three-pronged strategy of stopping the killing of elephants, stopping the trafficking of ivory, and stopping the demand. China’s continued leadership will be essential if we are to make progress reducing these losses and preventing the extinction of one of the world’s most intelligent, social, and iconic species.”


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:;; Follow: @thewcs.

96 ElephantsWCS is leading global efforts to save Africa’s elephants and end the current poaching and ivory trafficking crisis. In September 2013, WCS launched its 96 Elephants campaign to amplify and support the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) “Partnership to Save Africa’s Elephants” by stopping the killing, stopping the trafficking, and stopping the demand. The WCS campaign focuses on: securing effective moratoria on sales of ivory; bolstering elephant protection; and educating the public about the link between ivory consumption and the elephant poaching crisis.