Hong Kong to destroy massive ivory stockpile

Fri Jan 24, 2014 8:28 am

2014-01-24 08:13

Hong Kong – Authorities in Hong Kong will destroy most of its huge stockpile of confiscated illegal ivory in a process that could take up to two years, officials said on Thursday.

The decision comes after similar action by mainland China, the US and the Philippines.

Conservation groups had urged the southern Chinese city's government to dispose of the ivory to send a strong sign it's serious about cracking down on the black market trade that is decimating Africa's elephants.

Hong Kong is a major transhipment point for illegal ivory sent to mainland China and officials have seized about 32.5 tons of ivory in the past decade, making it one of the biggest stockpiles in the world.

Officials now have about 30 tons left in heavily guarded government warehouses after donating small amounts for legitimate purposes such as conservation awareness or scientific research.

Status symbols

Conservation officials said they decided to destroy most of the rest of stockpile "in view of the management burden and the security risk generated by prolonged storage of the forfeited ivory".

They expect to start disposing of the ivory in the first half of 2014. In a sign of just how big the stockpile is, the disposal is expected to take "about one to two years".

China's demand for ivory is soaring as rising incomes mean ivory carvings prized as status symbols are becoming more affordable.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare said in a 2011 report that ivory in China cost as much as $2 400 a kilogram. The group estimates 35 000 elephants a year are killed by poachers for their tusks, risking the animal's extinction in the wild.

Earlier this month, authorities in southern China destroyed about 6 tons of illegal ivory in a surprise move praised by conservation groups. The US and the Philippines destroyed similar amounts last year.


- AP

1.7 tons of ivory seized in Togo

Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:11 am

2014-01-29 10:57

Lome - Togo police have seized about 1.7 tons of ivory loaded in a container in the port of Lome, the country's minister of environment and forest resources said on Tuesday.

"Five hundred and fifty ivory pieces and 77 complete pieces of ivory weighing close to 1 689kg were hidden in sacks inside a a container loaded with wood destined for Vietnam," said Andre Johnson.

"The ivory stock was discovered by a joint security task force checking containers in the port of Lome.

"A clearing agent was arrested. Investigations are under way to find members of the ivory traffickers' network."

The seizure is one of the largest ever recorded by the police.

Last August, the police impounded 700kg of ivory, mostly from Chad from a shop in Lome belonging to a 58-year-old Togolese national.

The convention on international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora (Cites) banned international trade in ivory in 1989.

But trafficking has been on the increase in recent years following a high demand in the Middle East and Asia where elephant tusks are used for the manufacture of decorative objects and in traditional medicine.


- AFP

http://www.news24.com/Green/News/17-ton ... o-20140128

Re: Elephant Poaching & Ivory Trade

Sat Feb 15, 2014 10:10 am

Four African nations spurn ivory sales

by Africa Geographic Editorial on February 14, 2014
Original Source: BBC News

The leaders of four African nations have pledged to honour a 10-year moratorium on sales of ivory. The leaders of Botswana, Gabon, Chad and Tanzania made the statement at a gathering in London to discuss the illegal wildlife trade. The aim is to draw up a global declaration that will tackle animal trafficking.

Prince Charles and The Duke of Cambridge are attending the meeting, hosted by the government. The African leaders have said they will not act on an option to sell from their ivory stockpiles, in an effort to protect elephants.

Conservationists say poaching has reached a crisis point: tens of thousands of elephants, rhinos and tigers are being slaughtered each year. The WWF estimates that the animal black market is worth US$19bn (£12bn) a year.

The bulk of poaching takes place in Africa, but much of the demand comes from Asia, where animal products, such as rhino horns, are used in traditional medicine or are bought by the rich as trophies.

The UK’s Foreign Secretary William Hague said that delegates at the meeting held at Lancaster House on Thursday would be adopting an “ambitious and powerful” London declaration. This would include a commitment to renouncing the use of any products from species at threat of extinction and a promise to support the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) ban on the international trade on ivory until elephant populations have stabilised.

He also said that poaching and trafficking should be treated as a serious crime, in the same category as drugs, arms and people trafficking. He added: “The illegal wildlife trade is a global problem and it matters deeply to all of us gathered here today. We need to show the world our political commitment at the highest level across the globe to addressing this before it is to late.”

In South Africa, 1 004 rhinos were killed in 2013, and across the whole continent it is estimated that more than 20 000 elephants were slaughtered for their tusks in 2012, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The leaders of four African countries spoke at the start of the meeting. The President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba, said: “Last year, we burnt an entire stockpile of ivory to show that Gabon has no tolerance for this.” He said his country had raised the minimum sentence for poaching to three years, and those found guilty of organised crime could be served with life in prison.

However, President Khama of Botswana said that he would put the country’s ivory stockpiles out of reach of the markets. As an additional pledge, the leaders of both African states, as well as the presidents of Chad and Tanzania, have agreed to a moratorium on the ivory trade for at least 10 years, as part of an elephant protection initiative.

While the trade of ivory has been banned under CITES since 1989, some states have been granted permission to sell their ivory stocks in the past. In 1999, CITES authorised a “one-off” sale of stockpiled ivory from Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to Japan, and in 2008 Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe sold their stocks to buyers in China and Japan.

In essence, by issuing a 10-year moratorium, the four African states are saying they will uphold the ban, and not ask for permission from CITES to sell any of their ivory.

Some organisations believe the CITES-sanctioned sales have been the driver for the current rise in demand for ivory, and want to have all ivory sales banned and stockpiles destroyed. Mary Rice, executive director of the Environmental Investigation Agency, said: “We need to learn from history and permanently shut down all ivory trade – international and domestic.”

Delegates from Asia, including those from China and Vietnam where the demand is greatest, did not speak at the opening of the meeting.

Interpol, the international intelligence agency, which will also be present at the meeting, says most of this being driven by organised crime syndicates, who have moved from narcotics and guns onto wildlife.

At a symposium held at the Zoological Society of London on Tuesday and Wednesday, conservationists said the problem needed to be tackled on several different fronts. They said improved legislation was needed, rangers needed support on the ground and the growing demand had to be tackled with education and marketing campaigns.

Heather Sohl, chief adviser on species for WWF-UK, said: “What we really want to see is these world leaders coming together and agreeing strong action for tackling illegal wildlife trafficking, looking at improving law enforcement and criminal justice, reducing the demand for illegal wildlife products, and ensuring sustainable livelihood’s for communities affected by the trade. We need to have strong action and for those people to take that home to their governments and make sure it is implemented at a scale and urgency that is commensurate for the problems we are seeing.”

Re: Elephant Poaching & Ivory Trade

Sat Feb 15, 2014 11:32 am

Heather Sohl, chief adviser on species for WWF-UK, said: “What we really want to see is these world leaders coming together and agreeing strong action for tackling illegal wildlife trafficking, looking at improving law enforcement and criminal justice, reducing the demand for illegal wildlife products, and ensuring sustainable livelihood’s for communities affected by the trade. We need to have strong action and for those people to take that home to their governments and make sure it is implemented at a scale and urgency that is commensurate for the problems we are seeing.”

Re: Elephant Poaching & Ivory Trade

Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:32 am

China’s Top Business Leaders Say No to Ivory

February 26, 2014

BEIJING – Business leaders in China took a public stand today against the ivory trade by signing a pledge to never purchase, possess, or give ivory as a gift. WildAid China Chair, Huang Nubo, spearheaded the effort by 36 prominent Chinese to raise awareness of the ivory poaching crisis. The group includes Charles Chao, CEO of Sina Corp., China’s largest Internet portal, Liu Chuanzhi, Chair of Lenovo, and 10 individuals from the Forbes 2013 China Rich List including Jack Ma, founder of the Alibaba Group.
"As China grows up, Chinese companies should do the same and take on more social responsibility,” said Nubo. “This is why we are joining efforts to protect our planet's wildlife. We hope this ethic becomes engrained in us and is passed down to future generations."
Recent surveys indicate a large portion of China’s population is unaware of the death toll to create ivory and rhino horn products, yet a greater number of residents support government enforced bans. (Read the ivory and rhino horn surveys.)
“The business elite in China, and the public, when aware of the problem, are very supportive of conservation,” said WildAid Executive Director Peter Knights. “We are hopeful that the new administration under President Xi will act decisively to stop ivory trafficking and bring some relief to beleaguered African nations.”
The Chinese government crushed more than six tonnes of its ivory stockpile earlier this year and is considering ending legal ivory sales, which have been shown to enable laundering of poached ivory.
With support from Chinese state media WildAid campaigns with celebrity ambassadors to reduce the demand of endangered wildlife products including shark fin, ivory, and rhino horn. Its shark fin campaign contributed to a reported 50% decline in the shark fin trade. In April 2013 the African Wildlife Foundation, Save the Elephants, WildAid, and the Yao Ming Foundation launched ivory and rhino horn campaigns in China.

The Ivory Pledge and its signatories are copied below:

Ivory Pledge
In recent years, poaching as a result of the trade in illegal ivory is posing enormous threats to the survival of elephants. I'm aware of the following:
1. Each year around 25,000 African elephants are killed for their ivory
2. The population of elephants has declined 62% in the last 10 years
3. Rampant elephant poaching is having negative impacts on the economy, tourism, and national security of many African nations
4. Terrorist groups in Africa are being supported in part through the illegal ivory trade
5. According to official reports and statistics, China is the largest importer of illegal ivory, and Chinese nationals are increasingly involved in the illegal ivory trade
6. Illegal ivory trade is damaging China's international reputation.
Because of this, I pledge the following:
1. I will not purchase, possess, or give ivory as a gift
2. I will encourage friends, family, and employees to not purchase ivory products

Signatories
Cao Guowei (Charles Chao) – CEO, Sina Corp
Deng Feng – CEO and Chairman, Beiji Guangfeng Investment Fund
Ding Liguo – Founder, Liguo Corp.
Feng Lun – Chairman, Vantone Holdings
Huang Nubo – Chairman, Zhongkun Group
Jiang Xipei – Chairman, Yuandong Holdings
Li Dongsheng – Chairman, TCL Group
Li Shufu – Chairman, Geely Group
Li Zhenfu – China Regional President, Novartis Pharmaceuticals
Liu Chuanzhi – Chairman, Lenovo
Liu Donghua – Founder, Zhenghedao Group
Liu Jiren – Chairman, Dongruan Group
Liu Jun – Deputy Chairman, Guangxi People’s Congress Committee
Ma Yun (Jack Ma) – Founder, Alibaba Group
Niu Gensheng – Founder, Lao Niu Foundation
Shen Guojun – CEO and Chairman, Yintai Holdings Corp.
Tang Yue – Founding Partner, Blue Mountain China Capital
Wang Chaoyong – Founder and President, Xinzhongli International Holdings
Wang Junhao – Deputy Chairman, Junyao Group
Wang Lifen – Founder, Beijing Youshimi Internet Technology Co. Ltd.
Wang Wenjing – CEO and Chairman, Yongyou Software Corp.
Wang Zhongjun – Chairman, Huaiyi Brothers Media Corp.
Wu Jianmin – Deputy Director, China External Affairs Committee
Wu Yajun – Chairman, Longhu Group
Xia Hua – Chairman, Yiwen Enterprise Group
Xie Mian – Art and culture critic
Xu Shaochun – Founder, Jindie Software Group
Xu Zhihong – Scholar, China Academy of Science
Yang Shaopeng – Chairman, Haifeng International Shipping Corp.
Yu Minhong – Founder, New Oriental Group
Yuan Yue – Chaiman, Lingdian Consulting
Zhang Weiying – Renowned Economist
Zhang Xingsheng ( Jim Zhang) – Managing Directory, The Nature Conservancy Greater China Region
Zhou Qiren – Dean, Peking University National Development Academy
Zhou Qifeng – Renowned Chemist
Zhu Xinli – Chairman, Beijing Huiyuan Beverage Company

Re: Elephant Poaching & Ivory Trade

Sat Dec 31, 2016 5:23 pm

China to ban domestic ivory trade by end of 2017

Poaching is a major factor contributing to the rapid decline in the numbers of African elephants, with about 20,000 slaughtered every year.

Reuters | about 2 hours ago

HONG KONG - China will slap a total ban on the domestic ivory trade within a year, the government announced on Friday, shutting the door to the world's biggest end-market for poached ivory.

The State Council said in a notice a complete ban would be enforced by 31 December 2017. The first batch of factories and shops will need to close and hand in their licenses by 31 March 2017.

Conservation groups applauded the ban, with WildAid's wildlife campaigner Alex Hofford calling it "the biggest and best conservation news of 2016".

Environmentalists say poached ivory can be disguised as legal as long as trade is allowed in licensed outlets on the high street and online.

Poaching is a major factor contributing to the rapid decline in the numbers of African elephants, with about 20,000 slaughtered every year, according to the WWF.

It says about 415,000 African elephants remain today, compared with the 3 to 5 million in the early 20th century. The animal is officially listed as a vulnerable species.

People with ivory products previously obtained through legal means can apply for certification and continue to display them in exhibitions and museums, the government announcement said.

The auction of legally obtained ivory antiques, under "strict supervision", will also be allowed after obtaining authorisation. The government will also crack down on law enforcement and boost education, it added.

WWF Hong Kong's senior wildlife crime officer Cheryl Lo said the bold timeline "shows determination to help save Africa's elephants from extinction".

"A ban clearly requires strong enforcement and support from the government to be most effective. But together with China's announcement, now that three of the world’s largest domestic ivory markets, that is China, Hong Kong and the US, are being phased out," Lo said in a statement.

The United States enacted a near-total ban on commercial trade in ivory from African elephants in June.

Campaigners are urging the Hong Kong government to speed up its plan of phasing out the local ivory trade by the end of 2021.

The former British colony, now Chinese-ruled but governed by different laws under a "one country, two systems" arrangement, allows trade of "pre-convention ivory", or ivory products acquired before 1975.

The financial centre also remains an important transit and consumption hub for illegal ivory to China and the rest of Asia.

Chinese ivory traders have also tried to pre-empt the move, WildAid's Hofford said, with some carvers setting up shops in Laos and Myanmar and other traders moving their products "offshore" to places such as Hong Kong.

http://ewn.co.za/2016/12/31/china-to-ba ... nd-of-2017

Re: Elephant Poaching & Ivory Trade

Sat Dec 31, 2016 8:34 pm

^Q^ ^Q^ O/\ O/\ O\/ O\/

Re: Elephant Poaching & Ivory Trade

Sun Jan 01, 2017 8:19 am

Hope it has some effect... 0()