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

Front end web developer - URGENT CONTRACT

£250 - £300 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT** Our...

Health & Social CareTeacher - Full time and Part time

£90 - £140 per day + Mileage and Expenses: Randstad Education Leeds: Sixth for...

History Teacher

£95 - £105 per day: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Plymouth i...

SQL Developer - Cardiff - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits and bonus: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer -...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: Hislop the Younger, by-election polling and all about the olden days

John Rentoul
The bustling Accident & Emergency ward at Milton Keynes Hospital  

The NHS needs the courage to 'adapt and survive'

Nigel Edwards
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
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?