I just received the wonderful news that China will shut down its legal commercial ivory trade, completely, by the end of 2017. It is fantastic news for the elephants and for those fighting to save them since China is the biggest market for ivory.
This news comes two days after I shared information about the inspiring and courageous film, The Ivory Game – a film which may have influenced the timing of this announcement. It is a film that highlights the international network of poachers and traffickers that has been responsible for the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of elephants across Africa and brought unimaginable wealth to unscrupulous business people in many countries. Two Chinese citizens agreed to play a role in this film. Hongxiang (we called him Hong) Huang and Omega. The two are shown taking part in a highly dangerous undercover operation.
When asked why he risked his life pretending to be interested in buying ivory Hong said he wanted to be a voice for all the millions of Chinese people who care about animals as he does. And he wants the facts made known to all these millions of his fellow citizens – that the buying of ivory is causing death and suffering for so many magnificent and iconic animals.
Although The Ivory Game has not yet been officially released in China, Netflix has streamed the film globally, including in Hong Kong and Taiwan and I know as a fact that a number of key government officials in China have had opportunities to see it. The film has already been very influential, and the two directors, Richard Ladkani and Kief Davidson are to be congratulated
Hong has always believed that China would play a key role in stopping the ivory trade, not because of external pressure but because of increased understanding of all that is involved. And now he is proved right. Indeed, China is now positioned to play a leading role in saving elephants from extinction.
What a wonderful piece of news to end the year. A special New Year’s greeting for all those working to bring the ivory trade to an end everywhere, especially those risking their lives to fight the poachers and traffickers on the ground. Good luck and continued success throughout 2017.