Hong Kong to destroy 28 tonnes of ivory
23rd January 2014
In a landmark decision, the Hong Kong Endangered Species Advisory Committee has voted to destroy almost the entire ivory stockpile, 28 of its estimated 33 tons.
The legal Chinese domestic market is the single most important factor behind the massacre of thousand of elephants every year.
The Committee has confirmed that apart from a small amount being saved for educational purposes all the stocks of ivory held by Hong Kong will be destroyed over a 1 to 2 year period. The first destruction will take place in the first half of this year.
The vote for the destruction was unanimous and the committee considered also that the costs of security and the management burden associated with monitoring the stockpile was too great to continue and destruction was the only viable option.
HK teaching Beijing a lesson
Hong Kong now follows China, the United States, Philippines, Gabon and Kenya. "Hong Kong is teaching a lesson to Beijing", said Elephant Action League's Executive Director Mr Andrea Crosta.
"The decision to destroy almost the entire stockpile dwarfs the destruction of only 6.1 tons in mainland China on January 4th, and shows that the Hong Kong authorities are taking the issue much more seriously."
"The next challenge, which is the most important, is to eliminate the ivory demand and curb the illegal trade. The legal Chinese domestic market is the single most important factor behind the massacre of thousand of elephants every year."
35,000 African elephants killed every year
Over 35,000 elephants are killed every year in Africa for their ivory. In many African countries elephants are now extinct or very endangered.
The illegal ivory trade is also the cause for a heavy human death toll. It provides funds to criminal and terrorist groups, and hundreds of people die every year trying to defend or kill elephants, leaving behind orphans, widows and entire local communities exploited.
China is the final destination of most of the illegal ivory from Africa, with tens of tons of ivory smuggled into the country every year and then processed at carving factories authorized by the government.
Protest at Chinese Embassy Saturday 25th January 2014.
Details in The Ecologist in "Give elephants a future!"
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