A complete ban on ivory trading is now in effect in China - a major step in efforts to rein in what was once the world's largest market for illegal ivory.
The message relayed by the State Forestry Administration yesterday was: "The buying and selling of elephant ivory and goods by any market, shop or vendor is against the law! From now on, if a merchant tells you 'this is a state-approved ivory dealer' he is duping you and knowingly violating the law."
The ban also applies to online sales and souvenirs bought abroad.
According to the Xinhua News Agency, a partial ban has resulted in an 80 percent decline in seizures of ivory entering China. Domestic prices for raw ivory are down 65 percent.
The total domestic ban was announced at the end of 2016, and 67 factories and shops involved in the ivory trade had closed by March. The remaining 105 should have closed by Sunday, Xinhua said.
China had previously banned imports of all ivory and ivory products acquired before 1975 after pressure to restrict a trade that sees thousands of elephants slaughtered every year.
Poaching in Africa has seen the elephant population there fall by 110,000 in the last 10 years to 415,000, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.