Hong Kong Ends Local Ivory Trading Within Five Years

First Posted: Jun 28, 2016 06:13 AM EDT

The officials in Hong Kong submitted a plan to completely ban all forms of the ivory trading market by the end of 2021.

Hong Kong is considered a major retail ivory market. Thousands of ivory items are exhibited for sale in tourist areas. The customs authorities said that the place is considered an ivory smuggling hub. It is also a key transit point, particularly into mainland China, according to National Geographic.

The lawmaker Elizabeth Quat stated that ivory smuggling was ruining Hong Kong's image. She further said that the international community has become aware that the killing of elephants can only be stopped by putting an end to such trading.

Meanwhile, Alex Hofford, campaign manager for WildAid, which is an organization focused on ending illegal trade in ivory, shark fin and rhino horn said that it is a watershed moment because the Hong Kong government has finally tabled a timeline. On the other hand, he thinks that five years is far too long. He called on Hong Kong to fast-track the process.

The Hong Kong government stated that it was dedicated to the protection of endangered species in a paper presented to city's legislature. China and the United States, which are the biggest ivory markets, declared their plans last year to enact almost total bans on imports and exports of commercial ivory, according to Reuters.

On the other hand, the ivory traders explained that their markets are legal because they come from an ivory stockpile imported before the international ban. Meanwhile, Daniel Chan, the boss of Lise Carving and Jewelry and one of the 400 or licensed ivory traders in Hong Kong said that the total industry loss would amount to almost HK$1 billion or $128 million. He further said that his trade will go extinct before elephants go extinct.

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