In an attempt to stop elephant poaching, Hong Kong will shut down legal ivory trade


0
SHARES

BY: JESSICA BEUKER

Great news for elephants – Hong Kong is taking steps to phase out their ivory trade. Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying announced the news Wednesday in his 2016 policy address.

He added that the ban would happen as quickly as possible, but that it would require legislative amendments, according to Good Magazine. Hong Kong will also impose heavier penalties on smuggling and illegally trading endangered species.

Currently, the import and export of ivory is banned in Hong Kong, yet approximately 400 licensed sellers are permitted to trade in ivory material dated before a 1989 international treaty banning the trade. According to CNN, this legal veneer allows illegal sellers and poachers to operate within the margins of the market.

Currently, the import and export of ivory is banned in Hong Kong, but yet approximately 400 licensed sellers are permitted to trade in ivory material.

2_Hong Kong will shut down legal ivory trade

Elephants, including those living in Africa, are killed by poachers for their ivory, which is smuggled into Asia where it is carved and crafted into jewelry and decorative items. Africa’s large mammal population has dropped by 58 per cent in the last 40 years, and more than 10,000 elephants are killed by poachers every single year.

As National Geographic points out, implementing a complete domestic ivory ban won’t happen overnight. In fact, it might take a few years. “It appears likely that in the initial phase Hong Kong will tighten existing penalties and ban the import of hunting trophies. Stricter penalties would, in effect, make ivory smuggling a serious crime, instead of the “petty” offense it is now. More difficult aspects of a ban—such as eliminating private stocks—would likely come later.”

Africa’s large mammal population has dropped by 58 per cent in the last 40 years, and more than 10,000 elephants are killed by poachers every single year.

3_Hong Kong will shut down legal ivory trade

The announcement follows China’s September statement, when Chinese President Xi Jinping joined Barack Obama in pledging to combat the ivory trade by banning the import and export of ivory into their countries.

China is the world’s largest consumer of illegal ivory. According to Good Magazine, since the China–U.S. agreement, the price of illegal ivory in China has dropped by 50 per cent in the last year and a half. This signifies that the ban is actually working, and will hopefully have the same outcome in Hong Kong.

China is the world’s largest consumer of illegal ivory.

4_Hong Kong will shut down legal ivory trade

The ban is greeted mainly with support. According to National Geographic, in May, a survey by the University of Hong Kong found that 75 per cent of citizens strongly supported a ban on the ivory trade.

Back in October, speaking on Chinese state television, Prince William said that endangered species, such as elephants and rhinos, will be extinct by the time children born this year reach the age of 25. He urged China to put a stop to its demand for rhino horn and ivory. I think this passage from his speech sums it up best, and can relate to just about everyone on this planet. “Let us not tell our children the sad tale of how we watched as the last elephants, rhinos and tigers died out, but the inspiring story of how we turned the tide and preserved them for all humanity.”

“Let us not tell our children the sad tale of how we watched as the last elephants, rhinos and tigers died out, but the inspiring story of how we turned the tide and preserved them for all humanity.”

5_Hong Kong will shut down legal ivory trade

Photo by: Kassandra Dzikewicz

Image sourcingdiscovery.com,  wordpress.com,  zmescience.com,  brentstirton.com,  washingtonpost.com