You’re talking about hundreds and hundreds of years of culture and history when it comes to ivory. Its so deeply rooted in the Chinese and asian traditions about the powers of elephant tusks, rhino horns and other exotic animals. They can bring you great power, great luck or even in the bedroom some mystical bullcrap. But told for centuries and given such strength of validity from I don’t know how or where. But the nonetheless it is embedded in the culture.
So for China to come and want to help the elephants is absolutely amazing. Whether it will do any good will be remained to be seen. But in the end, at least they are trying and making awareness. There is not much to gain as a country to shut it down. In this New Year Times piece, you can read: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/31/world/africa/africa-ivory-china.html?_r=0
You can read all sorts of outcomes here.
Will this save the elephants? This is what experts on the plight of elephants say:
• It all depends on the price. If China simply shuts down its legal ivory trade but does little to combat the much bigger illegal trade, then the price of ivory (now about $500 a pound) will stay high, giving poachers an incentive to keep killing.
• Making all ivory illegal in China could actually push the price up, like illegal drugs.
• Neighboring markets will be crucial. If Vietnam, Myanmar, the Philippines and others do not take similar steps, then many Chinese will simply buy their ivory from other places, which will keep demand high.
• African elephants face other threats, including habitat destruction and increasingly deadly contact with humans. In Kenya, a truck speeding down a highway recently rammed into an elephant and killed it.
• Many elephants are also hunted for bush meat. China’s new policy will not affect that.
• If the Chinese government really commits to combating the ivory trade, then the price of ivory could collapse. Criminal organizations and poachers will then abandon the business, and Africa’s elephant herds could recover for the first time in years.
But with that, it comes down to enforcement. If you’re the #1 consumer and you can make a real stance. It will have real change. I am scared it will drive trade underground and to other Asian countries. But at least it will make it tougher to get. Hopefully other countries can adopt same policies and make a change. Also Africa, needs to step up its game and combat people from within. However the demand, if their is limited supply, the elephants can repopulate. One step forward is better than none at all!