Quantcast

Hong Kong Ivory Seizure Largest in 30 Years

Animals
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.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter


mevans / E+ / Getty Images

The federal agency that manages the Great Barrier Reef issued an unprecedented statement that broke ranks with Australia's conservative government and called for urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Guardian.

Read More Show Less

A powerful earthquake struck near Athens, Greece and shook the capital city for 15 seconds on Friday, causing people to run into the streets to escape the threat of falling buildings, NBC News reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
U.S. government scientists concluded in a new report that last month was the hottest June on record. Angelo Juan Ramos / Flickr

By Jessica Corbett

As meteorologists warned Thursday that temperatures above 100°F are expected to impact two-thirds of the country this weekend, U.S. government scientists revealed that last month was the hottest June ever recorded — bolstering calls for radical global action on the climate emergency.

Read More Show Less
Rod Waddington / CC BY-SA 2.0

By John R. Platt

For years now conservationists have warned that many of Madagascar's iconic lemur species face the risk of extinction due to rampant deforestation, the illegal pet trade and the emerging market for the primates' meat.

Yes, people eat lemurs, and the reasons they do aren't exactly what we might expect.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pixnio

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

Many types of flour are commonly available on the shelves of your local supermarket.

Read More Show Less
A visitor views a digital representation of the human genome at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Mario Tama / Getty Images

Genetics are significantly more responsible for driving autism spectrum disorders than maternal factors or environmental factors such as vaccines and chemicals, according to a massive new study involving more than 2 million people from five different countries.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Emilie Karrick Surrusco

Across the globe, extreme weather is becoming the new normal.

Read More Show Less