Finally, a ban on imports alone will not end the ivory trade. Even with China's one-year ban, the people of China will still be free to buy, sell, and export ivory products to other nations who covet the tusks of dead elephants. China's numerous carving factories, which turn thousands of tusks into an endless horrific parade of disposable trinkets, will remain open.
As long as people can buy ivory, the demand for ivory will remain too high. And illegal poachers and smugglers will take whatever steps necessary to fulfil that demand, all the in the name of short-term profits.
How concerned global citizens can help end the ivory trade
Above all, it's important to recognize and celebrate this groundbreaking step that China has taken with its one-year import ban. But it's equally important to keep fighting for all the future steps that are still needed, both in China and in our own homes.
A key step to saving elephants is ending the ivory trade globally. In the United States alone, a dozen states have recently stepped up to pass or introduce vital legislation banning ivory sales. These bipartisan state-level bans are important to quash any lingering ivory trade at home. They also make a powerful statement to the world - including China - that the ivory trade, elephant extinction and terrorism will no longer be tolerated.