Close Asia’s Illegal Wildlife Markets
Hong Kong is the largest ivory city market in the world and a major transit hub for illegal wildlife trade due to low fines and sentences for traffickers and zero prosecutions of the criminal kingpins. China closed its legal ivory market at the end of 2017. All ivory trade in the country is now illegal, which may intensify Hong Kong’s position as a preferred market for illegal ivory under the cover of remaining legal traders. The Hong Kong ban will help blunt this trend. There is also evidence that domestic ivory markets in Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Japan, and Myanmar are increasingly catering to visitors from China.
Let’s look at some of WWF’s recent work in the lead-up to the ban.
6 September 2017. WWF releases the results of a survey showing that a total ban on ivory sales in Hong Kong is supported by 78% of locals at the Legislative Council’s second public hearing on the ivory trade ban. WWF is supported by testimony from Crispian Barlow, a 17-year veteran who served on the frontlines against poachers on South African nature reserves.
6 June 2017. Frontline rangers travel from Africa to join WWF in Hong Kong, urging legislators to ban the ivory trade.
27 March 2017. WWF delivers a petition to legislators and government officials signed by 91,643 Hong Kongers calling for an ivory ban, along with a letter detailing reasons to back the government’s ivory phase-out proposal.
WWF released several reports since 2015 outlining the problems, and our suggested course of action, for the ivory trade in Hong Kong.