Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Hong Kong Ivory Seizure Largest in 30 Years

Animals
Hong Kong Ivory Seizure Largest in 30 Years
Freeland

World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) is calling for an urgent clamp down on international organized ivory trade syndicates, as customs officers in Kwai Chung, Hong Kong report their seizure of approximately 7.2 tonnes of ivory in a shipping container inbound from Malaysia, earlier this week. Forensic investigations are currently underway to determine the exact quantity and source of the illegal consignment, which was declared as frozen fish, and could be the largest in 30 years.


While WWF commends the vigilance shown by Hong Kong's authorities in intercepting this illegal consignment, and making crucial arrests, the size of the seizure is a stark reminder of the staggering scale of the global trade in ivory and the devastating impact it has on elephant numbers. Every year, on average, more than 20,000 elephants are killed for their tusks in Africa alone.

"These tusks represent the lives of hundreds of elephants. In the Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania, for instance, almost 90 percent of elephants have disappeared due to poaching in the last 40 years with only about 15,000 remaining. WWF and other partners are working with the government of Tanzania on the ground to recover the elephant population but the magnitude of recent seizures in Asia only serves to highlight the enormity of the task ahead," said Margaret Kinnaird, leader of WWF's global Wildlife Practice.

"Hong Kong is currently in the midst of reviewing its illegal wildlife trade legislation and we hope that this process will yield swift results. Rigorous enforcement of legislation including increased cross-border engagement, monitoring and intelligence-sharing and further tightening of customs controls are needed to bring an end to what is a lucrative business run by international organized crime syndicates," added Dr Kinnaird.

"This week's massive seizure once again demonstrates that Hong Kong remains a major hub for illegal wildlife trade and we hope that the Legislative Council, which is scheduled to host the first bill committee meeting on 7 July, will swiftly ban the illegal trade in ivory and pass tougher penalties for illegal wildlife trade," said Cheryl Lo, senior wildlife crime officer, WWF-Hong Kong.

Hong Kong ranks 5th globally in ivory contraband with 33,000 kg seized between 2000 and 2013. The latest seizure is almost one-tenth of the recorded ivory stock (77,000 kg) in Hong Kong.

An Edith's Checkerspot butterfly in Los Padres National Forest in Southern California. Patricia Marroquin / Moment / Getty Images

Butterflies across the U.S. West are disappearing, and now researchers say the climate crisis is largely to blame.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A wildfire burns in the Hollywood hills on July 19, 2016 in Hollywood, California. AaronP / Bauer-Griffin / GC Images

California faces another "critically dry year" according to state officials, and a destructive wildfire season looms on its horizon. But in a state that welcomes innovation, water efficacy approaches and drought management could replenish California, increasingly threatened by the climate's new extremes.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Wisdom is seen with her chick in Feb. 2021 at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Jon Brack / Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge / Flickr / CC 2.0

Wisdom the mōlī, or Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known to science at the age of at least 70. She is also, as of February 1, a new mother.

Read More Show Less
Wind turbines in Norway. piola66 / E+ / Getty Images

By Hui Hu

Winter is supposed to be the best season for wind power – the winds are stronger, and since air density increases as the temperature drops, more force is pushing on the blades. But winter also comes with a problem: freezing weather.

Read More Show Less
Jaffa Port in Israel. theDOCK innovated the Israeli maritime space and kickstarted a boom in new technologies. Pixabay

While traditional investment in the ocean technology sector has been tentative, growth in Israeli maritime innovations has been exponential in the last few years, and environmental concern has come to the forefront.

Read More Show Less