Chinese strict laws that prohibit illegal ivory look strong only on paper because in many Chinese cities you can find numerous stalls that openly sell ivory that has not been certified. Most of ivory business in China is happening in city Guangzhou that has over the years become traditional get together place for dozens of thousands of merchants. Many environmentalists believe that this city is the headquarter of illegal ivory trade in the world.
Chinese are not only buying ivory in their homeland, many of them by ivory directly in Africa, for instance different latest reports suggest that in many African countries more than half of the ivory is being sold to Chinese people. China today presents the biggest threat to the global survival of the elephants, their traditional demand for ivory isn't slowing down, and since we are talking here about the country that has over 1,3 billion people the demand for ivory will likely remain huge, if not become even bigger due to better economic standard.
African elephants are still not on the brink of extinction but if China's illegal ivory market continues to grow, many elephants will pay with their lives the greedy need of some rich Chinese that wanted to have certain ornamental object made of ivory.
China is aware how severe this situation really is, and last year Chinese were even allowed to import a 62-tonne batch of elephant tusks legally into China to prevent illegal poaching in Africa. This move could have negative consequences, and instead of stopping poaching it could make it even worse because this would likely fuel a massive appetite for ivory there, increasing already high demand that can be satisfied by legal ivory trade.
And while we wait for the solution of this very complex problem organized poaching gangs are still heavily hunting and killing African elephants.
Demand for ivory in China is constantly high.