At the end of 2016, China announced a total ban on the domestic ivory trade, to be enforced by the end of this year. China, the world’s largest ivory market, hopes that this ban will reduce the illegal poaching of African elephants, whose numbers have declined dramatically in the last century. The ban will shut down a large number of factories and shops. Legally obtained ivory will still be permitted to be displayed at museums and traded as antiques under strict supervision, though certification will be required. Activists are now encouraging Hong Kong to stop its domestic ivory trade more quickly; phaseout is currently planned for the end of 2021. Although there are concerns that demand will simply shift to other Southeast Asian countries where ivory trade remains legal, this is a step forward. For the full story, see