NEW YORK (Sept. 25, 2015) – The following statement concerning the United States and Chinese governments' joint commitment to ban domestic sales and international trade of ivory was released today by WCS President and CEO Cristián Samper, who also serves on the President’s Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking.

Today, the White House issued a fact sheet which states that the United States and Chinese Governments intend to cooperate on a number of vital issues, including efforts to combat wildlife trafficking and a commitment  to ensure each country halts  the domestic commercial sale and international trade of ivory.

“Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Obama have agreed to commit to near total domestic ivory bans within both countries, as part of global efforts to halt the illegal wildlife trade.  Once both nations definitively take this action, ivory trafficking will begin to fall and the number of elephants could rise again," said Samper.

"We are confident that the United States will finalize pending regulations codifying an ivory ban nationally here in the U.S., and the Chinese government likewise will move expeditiously from this significant announcement to implementation.

"Two of the most powerful Heads of State want an end to all ivory trade. That's only good news for elephants, and we call upon all governments to follow suit.

“Today’s announcement is critical to the fate of Africa’s beleaguered  and declining elephant populations. The ruthless criminal syndicates operating both in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia may just have lost their biggest market.

“In the past several years, more than 100,000 elephants have been slaughtered in Africa; that is roughly 96 elephants a day, or one every 15 minutes.

“China is by far the largest market for illegal ivory in the world and the United States is not far down the list.  Most of the ivory leaving Africa is destined for China and that illegal trade is the primary driver for the poaching crisis that has spread across Africa during the last decade.

“This collaboration between China and the United States today will also hopefully spread, precipitating similar commitments from other consumer countries.

“Even with today’s announcement, it is vital for the world community to stay vigilant in range states by improving protection of wild elephants and dismantling the criminal networks that are driving the trafficking. We must keep emphasizing a comprehensive strategy to stop the killing of elephants, and stop the trafficking and demand for ivory.



WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society)

MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: 347-840-1242.


96 Elephants
WCS is leading global efforts to save Africa’s elephants and end the current poaching and ivory trafficking crisis. In 2013, WCS launched its 96 Elephants campaign to bring together world citizens, partners, thought leaders, and change makers to leverage collective influence to stop the killing, stop the trafficking, and stop the demand. The campaign, which has partners from around the world including 125 U.S. zoos, focuses on: securing effective moratoria on sales of ivory; bolstering elephant protection; and educating the public about the link between ivory consumption and the elephant poaching crisis.