HK Ivory Hub

HK Ivory Hub

16 July, 2015
Booming Trade
Study reveals Hong Kong displays the world's largest number of ivory items fort sale
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Hong Kong has more elephant ivory items for sale than any other city in the world, according to report released today by Save the Elephants. A total of 72 retail outlets were surveyed between December 2014 and January 2015 - and they were collectively found to be selling 30,856 ivory items.
 
Jewellery was the most popular item, accounting for 57 per cent of what was on sale. Small figurines was a second, making up 31 per cent of the trade. It's notable that both items are small and easy to transport. The report also found that over 90 per cent of the ivory sold in Hong Kong is bought by mainland Chinese visitors.

Hong Kong traders claim that their ivory sales are legal, since they are drawn from a stockpile of ivory that was imported before 1990 when the international trade was banned. Government statistics peg the current stockpile at 111.3 tonnes, and tellingly this level has not declined significantly over the past four years, despite today's market survey showing a thriving ivory business in our city. This raises the question of whether traders are using this stockpile of legal ivory as a cover for laundering smuggled, black market ivory from freshly poached elephants.
 
Each year, at least 30,000 elephants are killed in Africa for their tusks to satisfy the demand for ivory products in Asia.
 
“Hong Kong urgently needs a firm plan and timeline to phase out the commercial processing and sale of ivory,” says Cheryl Lo, Senior Wildlife Crime Officer of WWF-Hong Kong.
 
“At the moment we are continuously fighting a front-line conservation battle against elephant poachers and traffickers. Key to this effort will be the rejection of ivory in the most important consumer markets. Hong Kong, as one of the major destinations for ivory, should strengthen its system and enforcement efforts,” says Resson Kantai Duff, Head of Awareness at Kenya-based NGO Save the Elephants.
 

By: Ecozine Staff
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