By Xu Keyue, Global Times
Chinese people’s willingness to buy ivory ticked up slightly in 2019 but remained at a significantly lower level overall than that of 2017 before a nationwide ban, a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) China survey revealed on Wednesday.
Results of the survey in 15 Chinese cities over the past three years showed the percentage of Chinese people who claimed to have bought ivory products dropped in 2018 after the ban took effective in December 2017.
But the percentage of those who claimed to have bought ivory products in 2019 increased to 17 percent, slightly higher than 2018’s 14 percent, although at a markedly lower level than 2017’s pre-ban 31 percent.
More Chinese people are also buying ivory overseas, increasing from 18 percent in 2018 to 27 percent in 2019. Some 14 percent of interviewees in the past two years said they still planned to buy ivory products despite the ban, according to the WWF China survey results.
Thailand and Cambodia were the most-mentioned destinations where respondents said they had bought ivory, the report said.
A Chinese guide in Nanchang, East China’s Jiangxi Province, told the Global Times on Wednesday that almost half his guests in the last two years asked the prices of ivory products and showed a zeal to purchase.
“Their desire to buy ivory seems uncooled,” said the guide surnamed Wang.
The ban could be one reason for the increasing yen of Chinese tourists to buy ivory products overseas, Wang noted.
China’s General Office of the State Council in 2016 ordered a halt to the processing or selling of new ivory and its products in the country starting from the end of 2017.
Official statistics show the anti-smuggling department of the national customs has filed 182 cases of smuggling endangered species, including 53 ivory cases. Some 8.48 tons of ivory and its products have been seized, the Xinhua News Agency reported in April.