Beijing — China will ban all domestic ivory trade and processing by the end of 2017, state media reported on Friday, in a move hailed by activists as a "game changer" for African elephants. African ivory is highly sought after in China where it is seen as a status symbol and prices for a kilogram can reach as much as $1,100. "China will gradually stop the processing and sales of ivories for commercial purposes by the end of 2017," the official Xinhua news agency said, citing a government statement. The announcement follows Beijing’s move in March to widen a ban on imports of all ivory and ivory products acquired before 1975 after pressure to restrict a trade that sees thousands of elephants slaughtered every year. Xinhua said the complete ban would affect "34 processing enterprises and 143 designated trading venues, with dozens to be closed by the end of March 2017". "This is great news that will shut down the world’s largest market for elephant ivory," Aili Kang, executive director...

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