United States President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping today announced a sweeping agreement to implement a near-complete ban on commercial ivory trading in their respective countries.
According to a fact sheet released by the White House, both nations will implement "significant and timely restrictions on the import of ivory as hunting trophies, and [...] take significant and timely steps to halt the domestic commercial trade of ivory."
Further details have not yet been released.
The announcement was welcomed by conservationists, who, citing its detrimental impact on wildlife, have long been pushing for an all-out ban.
"Today's announcement is the greatest single step that could be taken to reduce poaching for elephants. Legal ivory trade has always been used as a cover to launder poached ivory, and when it was authorized by the previous administration in China in 2009, poaching escalated dramatically in Africa," WildAid CEO Peter Knights said in a statement.
Internationally, the ivory trade targets African and Asian elephants and walruses. Although a worldwide ban on ivory trading was enacted in 1989, the black market for ivory continues to thrive: according to estimates from the United States Fish & Wildlife Service, one elephant was killed every 15 minutes for its ivory between 2000 and 2012.
Article first appeared on Discovery's Discovrd blog.