Ivory can fetch almost $600 per pound on the black market. The demand has increased the rate of poaching with an elephant being killed every 15 minutes. Beyond the ecological effects of poaching is the economic effects on local communities, where it can destroy livelihoods of those who live within areas that elephants range.

Poachers spread crime and rob communities of an asset because elephants draw tourists from all over the world. This provides communities with a legal, sustainable source of income for locals.

Rapidly decreasing numbers

With numbers dropping the most comprehensive survey to date showed that between 2010-2012, it is estimated that 100,000 elephants were killed.

This level of poaching has seen a 2-3% decrease in elephant population across the African continent, and this confirmed that poaching levels had become unsustainable.

Newer estimates suggest that the annual loss is approximately 8% of the population per year, that is an average of 27,000 elephants slaughtered each year. With numbers rapidly falling China recently announced that it would ban all domestic trade and processing by the end of 2017.

An important ‘game-changer’

This has been described as a ‘game-changer’ by activists. African ivory can sell for almost $1,100 per kg in China, it is a status symbol and is highly sought after. A government statement stated "China will gradually stop the processing and sales of ivories for commercial purposes by the end of 2017.”

Last March, the Chinese government widened a ban on imports of all ivory and ivory products acquired before 1975.

A complete ban would see 34 enterprises shut down, with 143 trading venues; dozens of them being closed by the end of March this year.

China is currently the largest market in the world for the ivory trade and this would be a huge step in stopping the decline of the African elephant. This is a necessary step that’ll help the global eco-system and China have taken a courageous but necessary step.

Leading the way whilst the UK lags

Policies such as these are severely lacking from Theresa May and her government, they continue to deny what is necessary and enact very regressive environmental policies. Since She has become PM there has been very little real leadership from the UK government; only baseless rhetoric.