Will Hong Kong ivory trade stop?

This 2014 video is called Hong Kong, one of the key transit points for ivory smuggling into mainland China, is making efforts to curb the illegal trade.

From Wildlife Extra:

Hong Kong government signals end to domestic ivory trade

Hong Kong – Following a major anti-ivory campaign by WWF-Hong Kong, the city’s Chief Executive, C Y Leung, announced today that the government is actively exploring phasing out the domestic ivory trade.

The government is also set to strengthen efforts to tackle the illegal ivory trade.

Every year around 30,000 elephants are killed in Africa for their tusks, primarily to satisfy the demand for ivory products in Asia. Hong Kong is a key part of this trade as a major transit and retail hub, with a study last year revealing that there were more ivory items for sale in Hong Kong than in any other city in the world.

“The Chief Executive’s decision represents a significant step toward the end of Hong Kong’s ivory trade and a major milestone for elephant conservation,” said Gavin Edwards, Conservation Director, WWF-Hong Kong. “It is no longer a question of if a ban is needed – we can focus on when and how to end Hong Kong’s ivory trade.”

Giving his annual policy address, Chief Executive Leung stressed that Hong Kong is very concerned about the poaching of elephants in Africa and stated that the government will consider “appropriate measures, such as enacting legislation to further ban the import and export of ivory and phase out the local ivory trade.”

Hong Kong said it will also impose heavier penalties for smuggling and the illegal trade in endangered species.

“The government must rapidly implement this decision and develop a concrete timeline to phase out the ivory trade because there is no time to waste,” added Edwards.

Last year, WWF-Hong Kong launched its campaign to end the ivory trade in concert with other conservation organisations, legislators and with wide public support. In early September, WWF-Hong Kong released a report that revealed fundamental flaws in the regulations governing the domestic ivory trade, which allowed traders to launder illegal ivory from Africa – contributing directly to the elephant poaching crisis.

Yesterday, WWF handed in a petition to ban the trade signed by tens of thousands of Hong Kongers. The city’s lawmaking body, the Legislative Council, also passed a motion in December calling for the government to explore further restrictions on the ivory trade, so as to ultimately achieve a total ban on the trade.

“The Hong Kong government has listened to the voices of the city’s people and politicians who have been clearly calling for a ban,” said Cheryl Lo, Senior Wildlife Crime Officer, WWF-Hong Kong. “Hong Kong can now play a leadership role and strike a major blow against the global illegal ivory trade and wildlife crime.”

The decision follows the announcement by Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Barack Obama in September 2015 that they would take significant and timely steps to halt their domestic commercial ivory trades.

It also comes as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) Standing Committee is meeting in Geneva – with ivory trafficking and elephant poaching high on the agenda.

Yesterday, the European Union tabled recommendations in relation to National Ivory Action Plans, including calling on Hong Kong to provide further information on its registration system for ivory and the implementation and enforcement of regulations for domestic ivory trade.

Most illegal ivory is less than three years old: here.

13 thoughts on “Will Hong Kong ivory trade stop?

  1. Dear friends,

    The ivory trade is pushing elephants to the edge of extinction, and Yahoo is making a killing from trinket sales in Japan! But right now we have a chance to end this corporate complicity.

    Several big brands like Google and Amazon are refusing to sell ivory. Yahoo is one of the few major online markets left. But we could influence that decision. Right now Yahoo is losing some of its best employees, and the CEO is offering millions to convince people to stay. If we threaten to lift the lid on Yahoo’s bloody secret, she could lose staff even faster, and may reconsider the costs of this cruel trade.

    100 elephants are being massacred a day, and their emotional intelligence means they understand the horror of what is happening to them. Let’s raise a million voices to protect these majestic creatures — Avaaz will run an advertising blitz and target Yahoo employees worldwide to demand change from the inside. Add your voice now:


    Ivory sales on Yahoo Japan are exploding, growing from around $2 million in 2010 to $7 million in 2014. Yahoo Japan is separate from the global firm Yahoo, but the global company is its second largest shareholder, and has a massive say on policy.

    Yahoo’s CEO, Marissa Mayer, is under threat. Yahoo’s financial performance has been poor, some investors want her gone, and employees are demoralised — over a third of the workforce left in the last year. The last thing she needs right now is to be distracted by even more bad publicity and employee anger. And if we win on Yahoo, we can use the momentum to go after the other companies that still allow ivory sales online.

    With experts warning that elephants could be extinct in the wild in just one or two decades, there is no time to delay. If we raise the alarm about Yahoo’s involvement in the slaughter with employees and the media, CEO Mayer will be under pressure to follow other responsible companies and ban ivory from the site. Act now and share this story so the whole world knows:


    When nearly 1.4 million Avaazers and WWF supporters joined Leonardo DiCaprio in a call to the Thai prime minister to end her country’s unregulated ivory market, we left so many comments on her Facebook page that it was temporarily shut down! Our pressure forced her to listen — and she pledged to end the unregulated trade. Now let’s shut down another major part of the trade in these precious animals’ tusks!

    With hope and determination,

    Meredith, Marie, Alice, Risalat, Emilia and the rest of the Avaaz team


    Japan’s inaction fuelling illegal ivory trade as demand rises, study finds (The Guardian)

    How Japan is Fueling the Slaughter of Elephants (National Geographic)

    Yahoo’s Brain Drain Shows a Loss of Faith Inside the Company (CNBC)

    Wildlife poaching a threat to national security (CNN)

    African elephants could be extinct ‘within a decade’ (The Telegraph)


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  3. Dear friends,

    Every 15 minutes an elephant is brutally slaughtered for its tusks, and at this rate they will be gone forever in just a few years. Momentum is growing for a complete global ban on ivory — but the European Commission has just come out against it!

    The elephant crisis is heartbreaking. In some areas these magnificent, sensitive creatures are so terrified of people they only come out at night, and mourning baby elephants refuse to leave the butchered corpses of their mothers. Now 29 African governments have said if Europe gets its way, it will spell extinction for our elephants, and they need our help.

    A key global summit is just around the corner where we could win the total ban we need, and there are signs powerful countries like France and Germany could lead a rebellion against the EU’s elephant death sentence. African governments will deliver our giant call straight into key meetings to build support for the ban — sign now to keep our elephants safe, and share with everyone you know:


    All over the world, iconic species are being driven to the edge of extinction thanks to hunting, poaching and habitat loss. It’s creating a crisis that threatens us all — scientists are warning that as each species is lost, another strand is pulled out of the web of life. Pull out too many, and the ecosystems we rely on will collapse.

    Europe is the world’s biggest exporter of legal ivory, and argues that the best way to tackle the elephant crisis is to crack down hard on the illegal trade, while keeping legal traders operating. But elephant poachers pass off the ivory they sell as legitimate, hiding their crimes behind the legal ivory trade and experts say legalisation could make poaching grow exponentially.

    So let’s build a global wave of support for our amazing wildlife, and make sure European governments drop this disastrous plan to allow more elephant slaughter. It will be a tragedy like no other if our children and their children only know elephants from books and videos. Add your name and spread the word to save the elephants:


    Our global people-powered movement is the best chance our wildlife has to survive and flourish. We’ve helped usher in the end of the ivory trade in Hong Kong, won an EU ban on bee-killing pesticides and campaigned for dozens of protected ocean and forest parks around the world. We even bought a rainforest for orangutans! Now we need to step up for elephants again, and get another global win for wildlife.

    With hope and determination,

    Bert, Rosa, Rewan, Emma, Spyro, Marie, Danny and the rest of the Avaaz team


    African wildlife officials appalled as EU opposes a total ban on ivory trade (The Guardian)

    29 African Nations Urge EU to Halt Elephant Slaughter (Environment News Service)

    In Fighting Illegal Ivory, EU Lags Behind (National Geographic)

    Obama says that urgent action is needed to save elephants from going extinct (The Guardian)


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  9. Dear friends,

    The biggest ivory bust in decades just happened in Hong Kong. 1000 elephants were murdered for one shipment(!), only to end up as little trinkets on people’s coffee tables!

    Hong Kong is like an elephant slaughterhouse — home to a booming trade in their butchered body parts. As long as it’s legal, more and more beautiful elephants will be slaughtered. At this rate, they could literally be extinct in 10 years.

    The government wants to ban this awful trade, but industry lobbyists are making it a nightmare. Our massive community can drown out their baseless arguments, give the government the backing they need, and save thousands more elephants from death, but it will take each one of us to make it big enough.

    Let’s build a mega-petition to save the elephants, then Avaaz will hit Hong Kong with ads, target politicians with advocacy, and stir up a media frenzy. Add your name and share widely — let’s shut down this slaughterhouse for elephants!

    Tell Hong Kong — ban ivory for good!

    Our amazing movement has played a massive role in the fight to save elephants from extinction. Now even China, the world’s biggest ivory market, is banning it!

    But to save the elephants, it needs to be banned everywhere. Since it’s still legal in Hong Kong, buyers from China just hop over and buy their knick-knacks from there instead — Chinese buyers make up 90% of Hong Kong’s bustling ivory market!

    We can close the market in Hong Kong — there’s already genuine political will to pass the ban, now we need a crazy huge outcry to show officials that the entire world is calling on them to ban ivory.

    There was a time when 25 million elephants roamed around Africa. Now an elephant dies every 15 minutes! It’s outrageous and tragic all at once. Let’s help stop it. Add your name and tell everyone, it’s time to shut down this slaughterhouse for elephants:

    Tell Hong Kong — ban ivory for good!

    We’re in a fight against time. Our movement has just rallied around an incredible fundraiser to bring evidence proving Europe’s ivory trade is fuelling the poaching crisis. But if we don’t stand up for the elephants again and again, they will be soon be gone. It’s up to us, let’s not let these beautiful creatures down.

    With hope,

    Rewan, Danny, Nataliya, Luca and the entire Avaaz team

    More information:

    Hong Kong launches bill to ban domestic ivory trade (The Guardian)

    An African ranger’s message to Hong Kong’s ivory traders: Stop this now, “preferably today” (Quartz)

    Ivory buyers will ‘wipe out elephants in 10 years’ says wildlife expert, pointing blame at Chinese traders (South China Morning Post)

    Elephants on the path to extinction (The Guardian)


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