Independent Voices, Indy Voices

Hong Kong agrees to destroy 28 tonnes of stockpiled ivory

 

Share
Related Topics

Hong Kong will destroy its 28 tonnes of its stockpiled ivory, the Endangered Species Advisory Committee (ESAC) announced yesterday. This decision comes after Guangzhou in China destroyed six tonnes of ivory earlier this year.

Paul Shin Kam-shing, the chairman of ESAC, told the Independent: “Elephants have a value and a function when they are alive. We should not be putting a value or function on their tusks and body parts after they have been killed in a cruel way.”

ESAC agreed unanimously to destroy 28 tonnes of Hong Kong’s stockpile by incineration after a four-hour meeting with government officials. The first raft of ivory tusks and trinkets will be destroyed within the next six months and the remaining stockpile will be burned over the next two years.

Kam-shing said that Hong Kong encourages “countries all over the world to make concerted efforts in combating illegal poaching.”

According to Kam-shing, Hong Kong would also destroy any future seizures of ivory and the government would actively promote conservation of endangered species in the country.

Hong Kong’s ivory stockpile is one of the largest in the world. The country sees major demand for ivory from tourists from mainland China who buy ivory trinkets, chopsticks and carvings to display as art.

USA and Philippines destroyed their stockpiles of ivory in 2013, but Hong Kong’s decision is momentous because it represents a firm commitment from a nation where demand for ivory is at its highest.

The government will retain a few tonnes of ivory for use in scientific and educational projects. This is permitted by Cites, the international body to protect endangered wildlife.

Conservationists have applauded the decision as a major step in the battle against the ivory trade. Andrea Crosta, Executive Director of the Elephant Action League commented: “I think it's a very important step, a much meaningful gesture than the crush in mainland China [earlier this year].”

“It's early to say if we have a new partner in Hong Kong to curb the illegal ivory trade, but it's certainly a concrete action to get rid of most of their stock.”

Alex Hofford, programme director for Hong Kong for Elephants also commended the decision to destroy stockpiles: "We think its great, we are really happy with the government’s decision. America, China, and now Hong Kong are sending strong signals to ivory traders.

“[Buying ivory] immoral: its wrong and it should stop. This message will get through to consumers and it will scare them. If demand stops, so will poaching."

However, Hofford argued that the using ivory in schools for educational purposes was akin to using bags of cocaine to educate children about the dangers of drug use.

He said: "We think that treating ivory as art sends the wrong message to children. We don’t think that dead body parts should be in classrooms. Ivory belongs on elephants and not in schools. Having ivory in glass boxes sends wrong signal."

Shruti Suresh, wildlife campaigner with the Environmental investigation agency welcomed Hong Kong’s recognition of “the management burden and the security risk” posed by the stockpiling of ivory.  

However, she said “we would urge the government to ensure that the stockpiles are destroyed in a transparent manner and after conducting an audit and taking DNA samples of the seized ivory for investigation and enforcement purposes.”

The Independent’s elephant appeal supports Space for Giants who work with international partners to stop the illegal trade of ivory. Follow our campaign page in the run-up to the London conference on 13 February, when heads of state from across the world will gather to find a global solution to wildlife crime.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Taking on Ukip requires a delicate balancing act for both main parties

Andrew Grice
Today is a bigger Shabbes than usual in the Jewish world because it has been chosen to launch the Shabbos Project  

Shabbes exerts a pull on all Jews, and today is bigger than ever

Howard Jacobson
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker