The price of ivory has dropped nearly 50% in China over the past 18 months due to growing public awareness and a promise from President Xi Jinping to ban the trade.
Once seen as a sign of wealth, fewer Chinese are buying ivory — a tradition that had fueled elephant poaching in Africa.
Campaigns led by WildAid, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the African Wildlife Foundation and Save the Elephants, supported by Chinese state media and private companies, and fronted by local celebrities like basketball star Yao Ming, appear to have had a major impact.
In March, China Central Television aired a single public service announcement with Yao Ming, Prince William and David Beckham an incredible 70 times in one day.
A WildAid study showed a dramatic increase in the number of people who believe elephant poaching is a problem, from 47% in 2012 to 71% in 2014.
“The halving of ivory prices in China is a vital first step in ending Africa’s ivory crisis,” said WildAid CEO Peter Knights. “Though there is much work to be done, this is good news for Africa’s elephants, and the Chinese government should be credited for this progress. There’s light at the end of the tunnel for elephants, instead of extinction.”