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Avaaz Calls Hong Kong’s Historic Ivory Ban a ‘Lifeline for Elephants’

*Landslide vote will close last major ivory hub in Asia after massive public campaign*

 

Hong Kong’s legislature today overwhelmingly voted to pass a bill shutting down its notorious ivory trade. After a similar move by China late last year, it’s becoming clear that the closure of ivory markets could be a major trend for 2018. The move comes after a huge public campaign including hundreds demonstrating in the city and a 1 million strong global petition.

Bert Wander, Avaaz Campaign Director said: “Shutting down this massive ivory market has thrown a lifeline to elephants. People all over the globe are standing up for these magnificent creatures and governments are listening. First it was China, then Hong Kong and next we’re taking this ban to Europe to stop the world’s largest exporter of legal ivory.

Hong Kong’s new law will ban the import and re-export of pre-Convention ivory into and out of the country by July this year, and the sale of all post-1925 ivory by December 2021.

The move comes after over 1 million people petitioned Hong Kong’s Legislative Committee calling for a ban, and campaigning groups like WildAid Hong Kong have organised local volunteers and schoolchildren to push for the closure of Hong Kong’s ivory markets. Avaaz also took out a full page ad in the Oriental Daily News today to deliver their call. The ad was sent to all Hong Kong’s lawmakers, and held up in the debate by ivory ban champion lawmaker Elizabeth Quat.

Protecting elephants and closing ivory markets is a growing trend. The first signal came when China shut down it’s ivory markets at the end of 2017. The US has adopted a near-total ivory ban, and the UK government has proposed the closure of its ivory markets.  Avaaz is focusing its sights on the EU, which it’s identified as a major global laggard. An analysis of the CITES Trade Database for 2006–2015 reveals the EU to be the single largest exporter of legal ivory items by number of reported transactions.

Poaching has driven huge declines in the number of elephants in the wild, with a 62% fall in numbers over the past decade. Up to 30,000 African elephants a year are still being slaughtered because of the demand for ivory. Experts say that if this continues, they could go extinct in the wild within our lifetime.

ENDS --

Contact: Julie Deruy +33676477259