China announced to end domestic ivory trade within the next 12 months WWF urges Hong Kong Government to speed up its five-years-plan to ban the trade
China, Hong Kong and the US, three of the world’s largest ivory trade markets, have been working proactively to ban domestic ivory trade. Hong Kong is the largest city based ivory market in the world, and has been one of the first to announce a definite timeline to end the ivory trade and swiftly take concrete actions to follow through. Not long ago, the Hong Kong government has proposed a five-year timetable to end the domestic ivory trade.
“While China is aiming to ban the sales of ivory by 2017, Hong Kong is proposing legislation to end its ivory trade by 2021. WWF is concerned that when China’s market is closed in 2017, Hong Kong’s may unwittingly become a preferred market for illegal ivory, under cover of any remaining legal ivory traders. Hence, WWF urges Hong Kong government and legislators to immediately speed up the process and legislate to ban the ivory trade as soon as possible.” stated Cheryl Lo, Senior Wildlife Crime Officer, WWF-Hong Kong.
Since 1990, the international trade in ivory has been banned; however any ivory in the possession of traders before 1990 remains legal to sell. The Hong Kong government suggested the five-year timetable to end the domestic ivory trade. However, according to legal research published by WWF has confirmed that an ivory ban could be put in place much sooner under current Hong Kong law. African Elephant’s population has dropped from 3 to 5 million in early 20th century to around 415,000 today. The species is still declining at an alarming rate with around 20,000 elephants being killed every year to satisfy the demand for ivory markets primarily in Asia.
China's official policy release: