(Born Free Foundation Press Release) International wildlife charity, the Born Free Foundation, reacted strongly to the news that 28 tonnes of seized ivory in Hong Kong is to be destroyed.
Following a four-hour closed meeting of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department’s Endangered Species Advisory Committee, news of the impending incineration set the media world buzzing.
This could not have happened at a more critical time. Born Free estimates that in 2013 up to 50,000 elephants were poached for their ivory.
Furthermore, over the past two years, the Foundation has recorded the seizure of at least 14.2 tonnes of ivory by Hong Kong’s law enforcement-agencies, with the total stockpile estimated at 33 tonnes.
Last week’s announcement sends a clear signal of the Hong Kong government’s intention to fight against ivory poaching.
Will Travers OBE, CEO of the Born Free Foundation, emphasised the importance of today’s announcement,
“It’s massive. The biggest destruction of illegal ivory stocks in history. Even a year ago, to think that China and Hong Kong would take such decisive action would have been fantasy.
“Are they now set to become truly global leaders in the fight against the ivory trade and poaching?”
He continued: “Now we need to go the extra mile. Close domestic markets – no more selling ivory. Support Africa’s conservationists and the rangers in the field to make sure they get the training, equipment and support they need to protect elephants from the poachers.
“Use our global intelligence-gathering machinery to infiltrate and destroy the criminal syndicates that are behind the bloody slaughter.
“Stop the poaching of elephants and the selling of ivory providing funds for militant and terrorist organisations determined to destabilise communities far and wide.”
Travers explained how the stockpile destruction could act as a catalyst for further action by the UK government,
“In 3 weeks, the UK hosts a High Level Meeting on Illegal Wildlife Crime. What will our response be? My advice is clear. Give Africa the means to do the job.
“Put serious funding from our Overseas Aid Budget behind the African Elephant Action Plan and support the rangers who risk their lives, daily, to protect Africa’s wildlife heritage.“