Hong Kong to Burn 3 Tons of Ivory Stockpile

Cape Times (South Africa), May 15, 2014 | Go to article overview

Hong Kong to Burn 3 Tons of Ivory Stockpile


BYLINE: Melanie Gosling Environment Writer

GOVERNMENT conservation bodies in Hong Kong will burn three tons of ivory today, part of the huge stockpile of 30 tons of illegal ivory seized in the city which is the main entry point for ivory smuggling into mainland China.

The ivory will be incinerated at the Tsing Yi chemical waste treatment plant and the remaining 27 tons will be destroyed in batches later.

The South China Morning Post reported yesterday that Hong Kong's role as a centre of the illegal ivory trade had led to the city having one of the largest stockpiles of seized ivory in the world.

It said government officials hoped their decision to burn the ivory would send a message to the world that the slaughter of elephants would not be tolerated.

There is a huge market for carved ivory in China, ranging from artworks to jewellery and chopsticks. More recently as the price of ivory has rocketed, it has become an investment vehicle.

Hong Kong's decision to destroy its illegal ivory follows similar destruction of stockpiles in other countries: 9.6 tons in Zambia in 1992; five tons in Kenya in 2011; 4.8 tons in Gabon in 2012 and five tons in the Philippines and 5.4 tons in the US last year and 6.1 tons in mainland China in January.

Probably the most famous is the burning of 12 tons of elephant tusks in Kenya in 1989 - the first time this was done - which helped lead to the international ivory trade ban the following year.

Destroying ivory has financial savings for some countries saddled with high bills to safeguard the stash of tusks - many of which come from natural elephant deaths. …

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