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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
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 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 ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid