China bans elephant ivory trade
By CGTN’s Yao Chin
We all make New Year’s resolutions, maybe to go to the gym more often or save money. China made its own resolution last year, and has worked hard to keep it, because at stake was the entire African elephant population. 
Starting January 1, 2018 the commercial trade of ivory products in China is illegal. And anyone caught doing so faces severe penalties with the possibility of a prison sentence.
This can’t come soon enough. The United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species recently reissued its warning that the elephant population of Western and Central Africa faces being wiped out completely. The levels of poaching there are falling, but the elephant population isn’t able to grow at the same speed as their numbers are being slaughtered. And in East Africa, the elephants are still very much under threat.
All this for a trophy, for a trinket, for a carving fashioned from the death of a harmless animal. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and TRAFFIC in China recently commissioned a survey of the changing attitudes towards ivory in China. 
Of the findings, 50 percent of people surveyed were categorized was "rejectors," and was against purchasing ivory in the future. 
The survey results are worth a read, as what’s important is the (re)education of what was once seen as a part of China’s cultural heritage.
An elephant in Amboseli National Park, Kenya. /VCG Photo

An elephant in Amboseli National Park, Kenya. /VCG Photo

What is not easy viewing are the elephant carcasses littering Africa. I’ve done my best to minimize using them in my report, but over the years, I have seen countless lifeless elephants with their heads hacked open. Just for their tusks. 
Right now in China, the WWF-TRAFFIC a report suggests that 19 percent of the population are "diehard buyers" who will still purchase elephant ivory products in future. And of course, it’s not just Chinese people buying. It’s a global problem. The only thing that will change their minds is to realize the folly of their mistakes, either by being punished or learning they are wrong. 
So please spread the message that the Chinese government and many others are trying to send. If your government hasn’t banned it, petition them to do so. If your friends like ivory, tell them why they shouldn’t.
It is now down to all of us to save the elephants from extinction. They are the world’s heritage and our responsibility, and their protection should be our resolution.