Protesters demand ivory trade ban

Protesters today gathered outside the Chinese embassy to call for a ban on the country's booming trade in ivory from elephant tusks.

P-0e514696-85cc-11e3-8fe3-0a0c02230000
Thousands of African elephants are slaughtered each year because of Chinese demand for ivory

Organisers said 150 people took part in the demonstration which called for China to ban the ivory trade and destroy its ivory stocks.

Chinese demand for ivory is claimed to be driving the slaughter of an estimated 40,000 African elephants every year.

Wildlife charities Action for Elephants and Care for the Wild organised the demonstration as part of their efforts to save the animals from extinction.

Ornaments made from ivory are a traditional symbol of wealth and status in China and demand has been buoyed by the country's economic boom.

Philip Mansbridge, chief executive of Care for the Wild, said: "We are asking China for their help - 70% of the global market is China. If China bans ivory, demand falls, and the elephant population grows."

Protesters carried placards at the event in central London which said in English and Mandarin: "Kill the ivory trade, not the elephants", and chanted: "China save the elephants."

Mr Mansbridge said campaigners would send a petition to the embassy with 7,000 signatures asking the Chinese to ban the ivory trade, destroy stockpiles of ivory, and use its status as a powerful nation to boost international efforts to protect wildlife.