Return of the ivory trade
Will this spell the end of the elephant? They are doing well now after the ban on the ivory trade was introduced - so lets re-introduce killing for their tusks - smart idea - if you're not outraged yet don't wait to be outraged when they are nearing extinction again - get angry now - and it's not about extinction or not - it's about cruelty.
The world trade in ivory, banned 19 years ago to save the African elephant from extinction, is about to take off again, with the emergence of China as a major ivory buyer.
Alarmed conservationists are warning of a new wave of elephant killing across both Africa and Asia if China is allowed to become a legal importer, as looks likely at a meeting in Geneva next week.
The unleashing of a massive Chinese demand for ivory, in the form of trinkets, name seals, expensive carvings and polished ivory tusks, is likely to give an enormous boost to the illegal trade, which is entirely poaching-based, conservationists say.
"This is going to mean a return to the bad old days where elephants are being shot into extinction," said Allan Thornton, of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), the group which provided much of the evidence on which the original ivory ban was based in 1989.
And here see how the true cost of ivory is bloodshed.
The arrest in May of two Chinese visitors at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta airport rang alarm bells among animal welfare groups in Kenya. During a routine baggage check, customs officials found Shubo Liang and Tao Gu had stuffed 240lbs (110kg) of ivory into their bags.
The find was small, but significant. When it comes to tackling elephant poaching, Kenya is one of Africa's success stories. The country's elephant population has grown from 16,000 to 27,000 since the global ivory trade was banned in 1989.
But China's appetite for ivory has led to a boom in illegal poaching, even in countries such as Kenya where it had previously appeared to be under control. Experts at the University of Washington in Seattle warned last year that it has reached record levels.
And that will only increase if China becomes an approved buyer of legal ivory, animal welfare experts have warned. "It will mean more elephants being poached – it's as simple as that," said Michael Wamithi, from the International Fund for Animal Welfare. "It will be impossible to know which is illegal and which is legal."