Chinese authorities on Oct 15 announced a one-year ban on imports of African ivory acquired as hunting trophies in the country’s latest effort to fight wildlife poaching and trafficking.
In a statement on its website, the State Forestry Administration (SFA) said it would stop approving imports until Oct 15, 2016.
An unnamed official with the agency said the move underscored the stance of the Chinese government in wildlife protection and a concrete step forward in its efforts.
The policy follows a one-year ban in February on imports of African ivory carvings acquired after the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which took effect in 1975.
The SFA said a review, which would decide whether the measure should be extended, on the February ban was under way.
The trade and sale of ivory carvings is legal in China if the activities conform with certain regulations. Ivory may only come from two sources — items imported before the country joined CITES in 1981, and 62 tonnes of raw-ivory stock bought from four African countries in 2008, as permitted by the CITES.
Raw elephant ivory and its products should only be processed at designated places, sold by certain outlets and be individually tracked. Each legal product has been cataloged and is traceable by its own unique photo ID.
During President Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States last month, the two countries committed to nearly-complete bans on ivory import and export, including significant restrictions on ivory hunting trophies, and regulation to halt the domestic commercial trade of ivory.