China has long been the world’s biggest ivory market, with consumption peaking about five years ago as the country’s emerging rich and free-spending officials came to view it as a symbol of wealth and prestige.
Intricately crafted elephant tusks were exchanged as gifts by Communist Party cadres and within high-level business circles as a means of expressing status and appreciation of an ancient Chinese art form.
But with a domestic trading ban looming on Jan. 1, attitudes towards ivory in China have shifted dramatically.
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Demand has plummeted in recent years as huge publicity campaigns – backed by Prince William and David Beckham – raised awareness of the devastating consequences of the poaching…
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