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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Part Time Male Support Worker / Full Time Driver

£9464 - £12995 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The successful applicant will ne...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Product Development

£26000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Product Development departm...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing and Business Development Officer

£19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This hull based charity providing except...

Recruitment Genius: Part Time Female Support Worker

£9464 - £10396 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The successful applicant will ne...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Sir Trevor Nunn's stance on diversity is dangerous

David Lister
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012  

Have you called the homeless 'the people you step over when coming out of the opera'? Then you too could get a peerage from David Cameron!

Lee Williams
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future