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Prince William hails China move to halt its ivory trade

By Sally Wardle

The Duke of Cambridge has said China's decision to shut down its ivory trade by the end of the year could be a "turning point" in the battle to save elephants from extinction.

The Chinese will phase out the processing and selling of ivory and ivory products before the end of December 2017, Beijing announced on Friday.

That will shut the door to the world's biggest end-market for poached ivory.

Prince William, who has campaigned on the issue for a number of years, welcomed the news in a statement.

"China's decision to ban its domestic ivory trade by the end of the year could be a turning point in the race to save elephants from extinction," he said.

"I congratulate the Chinese Government for following through on this important commitment."

The Duke, who is president of umbrella conservation group United for Wildlife, said all nations needed to play their part. "This battle can be won," he added.

"We need all countries to step up to the plate and do their part to end the illegal wildlife trade and save our iconic species before it is too late."

In September William said he feared the African elephant would have disappeared from the wild by the time Princess Charlotte turns 25 due to poaching.

He told the audience at an event organised by conservation charity Tusk that he was "not prepared to be part of a generation that lets these iconic species disappear from the wild".

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