Friday, 27 February 2015

David Attenborough calls on Chinese president to end ivory trade

Broadcaster joins a host of celebrities, MPs and conservationists who have signed an open letter to China’s president Xi Jinping urging him to act now to save African elephants from extinction, ahead of Prince Willam’s visit next month

Friday 20 February 2015 06.00 GMTLast modified on Friday 20 February 201510.56 GMT

Sir David Attenborough and a group of broadcasters, conservationists and MPs have called on the Chinese president to end his country’s ivory trade and save African elephants from extinction.

In an open letter to Xi Jinping, comedian Ricky Gervais, actor Joanna Lumley Labour MP Tessa Jowell, former environment minister Richard Benyon and Kenyan politician and conservationist Richard Leakey ask China’s leader to outlaw the buying and selling of ivory and educate Chinese citizens on the problem.

The intervention is intended to put pressure on China, the world’s biggest market for ivory, despite a global ban in 1989, ahead of a visit by Prince William to the country next month.

The prince is due to make a statement on conservation on 4 March in Yunnan province, and will visit a sanctuary for Asian elephants. Conservationists expect him to talk about the wildlife trade, including ivory. In a speech last December he noted the street price of ivory in China had increased from $5 (£3.20) to $2,1000 per kg in 25 years and was being reflected in increases in poaching.

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