A coalition of concerned individuals and NGOs, Hong Kong for Elephants, rallied on October 4 in the city center calling on the Hong Kong Government to destroy its entire stockpile of 25 tonnes of confiscated ivory.
The local rally is a solidarity action with the International March for Elephants organized by The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust under the iworry campaign.
The local anti-Ivory action was launched with a petition by Lucy Lan Skrine aged 11 and Christina Seigrist aged 8 at Avaaz.org in mid September calling for the destruction of confiscated ivory in order to send a strong signal to Chinese consumers that buying ivory is immoral and wrong. The two school kids are studying in Hong Kong, a major port in the illegal global trade of ivory on route from Africa to mainland China. In an interview [zh] with inmediahk.net, they said that they love animals and wanted to stop the massive killing of elephants by helping to give them a voice. The two girls become the spokespersons for Hong Kong for Elephants.
Despite the active crackdown of ivory smugglers by the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department in the implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), it has been difficult for the authorities to identify and prosecute the smugglers. Furthermore, domestic trade of ivory accessories is allowed both in Hong Kong and in mainland China. When the illegal raw ivory is successfully smuggled to mainland China via Hong Kong, it is wholesaled to carvers and manufacturers, turned into luxurious products and circulated in the domestic market through both licensed businesses and underground black market.
That's why international anti-ivory trade campaigns, such as Save All Elephants, are calling for a a stop to ivory carving industry in China:
China is the driving factor in the ivory trade, yet claims they are not responsible for poaching. It is their carving in their massive factories which produce all the items for people to buy. Carving is the Bottle Neck of the trade. China is at fault, the ivory is in their literal laps to be carved. They must be called out on it, and you, the activist, is the one to do it, the one to ask your government to demand that China stop so that elephants have their right to life.
This is also a long term goal for Hong Kong for Elephants. On October 4, around 30 animal activists rallied along the Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, a most touristic area in Hong Kong. When they passed by the Chinese Arts & Crafts, a famous department store for luxurious Chinese crafts including ivory, they urged Chinese consumers to stop buying ivory products.
Apart from raising public awareness, the coalition will submit the signatures collected from the online petition to the Hong Kong government and hasarranged a meeting with the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department to discuss their petition to destroy the stockpiles of confiscated ivory. As the coalition explained, destroying the stockpiles is only a start, their mission is to ban the domestic ivory trade:
We also want the Chinese government to ban its domestic ivory trade, to shut down the shops selling ivory products and to close down the 37 state-owned ivory carving factories across the country.
But first we want you to sign our petition asking the Hong Kong government to crush and burn the stockpile of ivory. We want Hong Kong to send a message to the world that ivory isn’t welcome here and we won’t allow our city to be any part of this cruel trade. Think about the elephants that died to create that 25 tonne pile of tusks. We must do all we can to make sure they didn’t die for nothing…
Mieszkam niestety bardzo daleko (Poland) od tych wspaniałych zwierząt i problemów związanych z kłusownictwem. Jedyne co mogę to włączac się wirtualnie. Popieram wszystkie akcje i mam nadzieję ze uda sie :-)
Thank you to the Hong Kong advocates and activists who bought this story to the mainstream. It is “the elephant in the room” that the government run carving factories generate the goods that consumers continue to buy. I ask that every Chinese person who is thinking of buying, think about their piece of Ivory and that it most likely came from the majestic elephant who was killed by illegal hunters. Although some Ivory trade is ‘legal’ doesn’t make it right. There are between 200,000 and 400,000 elephants left in Africa and they are being killed at the rate of 100 a day for Chinese consumers to “own” a piece of carved tusk. They will be ALL GONE by 2020 if we do not stop buying ivory. Elephant society is much like human society – they are long lived, family oriented animals. They mourn their dead. The ivory trade is killing ONE elephant every 15 minutes, it has to stop – surely any caring person would think “it isn’t worth it – don’t buy ivory!” Please. Not long now until they are all dead for chopsticks and art objects – this is our generation’s responsibility , everyone – not just Chinese people, all people. We must stop this together.