News / Africa

Hong Kong to Destroy 30 Tons of Ivory

Ivory that was crushed in Guangdong Province in China on January 6, 2014. Photo courtesy of WildAid
Ivory that was crushed in Guangdong Province in China on January 6, 2014. Photo courtesy of WildAid

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
More than 30 metric tons of ivory stocks are scheduled to be destroyed in Hong Kong. The African Wildlife Foundation says it welcomes the move in a region where a culture of ivory is deep seated.


The decision to destroy the ivory stocks was made by the Endangered Species Advisory Committee of Hong Kong’s Agricultural, Fisheries and Conservation Department.

Because of the huge amount of ivory it will be destroyed in stages.  And it won’t be crushed as in recent events in the U.S. and China where much smaller amounts were destroyed. Instead, it will be incinerated and turned to ash to ensure no small pieces remain that could be sold.

Speaking from Nairobi, African Wildlife Foundation CEO – Dr. Patrick Bergin – said he is thrilled by Hong Kong’s decision for several reasons.

“One, I think it shows growing global consensus, and two, I think it shows that this is an issue that the East and the West and Africa can work together on.”
Besides the amount of ivory being destroyed, Bergin said where it’s being done is also significant.

“It’s believed that Hong Kong is probably the single, largest transit point for ivory. So if you think about the fact that the United States destroyed about six tons and Hong Kong is holding 33-plus tons, it goes to show you what a large stockpile they have comparatively -- and that it’s built up over a long period of time,” he said.

///   END ACT   ///

There was another poaching crisis back in the 1970s and 80s. Many people in the United States and other developed countries were buying Ivory jewelry. Bergin said a campaign began to raise awareness that thousands of animals had to die for that jewelry to be made. The campaign was called Only Elephants Should Wear Ivory.

“I remember a big ad we had in the New York Times. It said: Today in America someone will kill an elephant for a bracelet. And as a result of public education we reached a tipping point and it’s now just very uncool and politically incorrect to use ivory in that way,” he said.

The head of the African Wildlife Foundation said that those campaigns did not happen in Asia.

“Most of humanity lives in Asia and we believe most of the market for ivory is now in Asia. The same movement has to occur. We need to reach out to the public in China, Vietnam and Hong Kong and Thailand – and particularly the younger generations. And help them understand the terrible destruction that this habit is causing,” he said.

The U.S., the U.N., the Clinton Foundation and others have launched new campaigns to crackdown on poachers. Many park rangers are ill trained and ill equipped to them. They are often well armed and backed by organized crime. There’s also concern that money from illegal poaching may be going to terrorist groups.

Bergin said the use of social media can help spread the word quickly and globally about illegal poaching and its consequences. Media that were not available during the campaigns of the 70s and 80s.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid