Hong Kong To Phase Out Ivory Trade
A very significant gain has been made against the ivory trade, with the government of Hong Kong announcing that it will aim to phase it out within its borders.
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) had worked extensively on this campaign, as Hong Kong is an integral part of the ivory trade since it serves as a major transit route. A study just last year revealed that Hong Kong was home to more ivory items for sale compared to any other city in the world.
Last year, WWF-Hong Kong criticized the city’s legislation in a report, pointing out that the areas surrounding the governing of the domestic ivory trade still allowed illegal ivory from Africa to be laundered.
CY Leung, Hong Kong’s chief executive, announced the plans of the government to focus on strategies to phase out the trade, such as implementing new legislation to ban the import and export, while gradually phasing out the local trade items.
WWF-Hong Kong’s conservation director, Gavin Edwards, applauded the announcement, stating:
“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. 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. 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.”
As Cheryl Lo, senior wildlife crime officer of WWF-Hong Kong states, the impact of this decision is two-fold, since,
“Hong Kong can now play a leadership role and strike a major blow against the global illegal ivory trade and wildlife crime.”