Thursday 14 January 2016

Hong Kong announces ivory ban

All eyes may have been on the US with President Obama delivering his last state of the nation address but the leader of Hong Kong was also delivering his annual speech and it offered hope and a future for elephants. Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in his annual policy address announced that Hong Kong will be joining with China in introducing a ban on ivory trading.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said “The Government is very concerned about the illegal poaching of elephants in Africa. It will kick start legislative procedures as soon as possible to ban the import and export of elephant hunting trophies and actively explore other appropriate measures, such as enacting legislation to further ban the import and export of ivory and phase out the local ivory trade, and imposing heavier penalties on smuggling and illegal trading of endangered species. Meanwhile, the Government will strengthen enforcement and take rigorous action against the smuggling and illegal trade in ivory.”

While no date has been set or timeline offered the announcement is important in tackling the plight of the elephants. It will almost certainly lead to another slump in the value of ivory as speculators continue to dump their stockpiles as the final large market is set to close to them.

Other south-east Asian countries, particularly Thailand, need to follow China, Hong Kong and the United States in banning the domestic trade but with the big markets closed or closing it will offer an opportunity for elephants to recover.

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