75% of Hong Kong public support ban on ivory sales: study

In March, 100 Hong Kong schoolchildren held a protest against the ivory trade. (Photo: Kei Tam/Coconuts Media)

Good news for our trunked friends! An HKU poll found that 75 percent of people surveyed said they support a ban on the sale of ivory in Hong Kong.

The poll, which surveyed more than 1,000 people, offers encouraging findings on the level of awareness among the Hong Kong public on elephant conservation. 

The good news is that 71 percent of people knew an elephant had to be killed for a poacher to be able to take its tusks. The bad news is that 29 percent of people didn’t.

A third of the respondents knew that African elephants could become extinct in the wild within our lifetime at the current rate of poaching, while a quarter knew that the ivory trade is linked to militant groups. 

The survey was commissioned by WildAid, Save the Elephants and the African Wildlife Foundation, and is supported by lawmaker Elizabeth Quat (who was recently in the news for suggesting Hong Kong build a database of its mentally disabled residents).

The wildlife groups urge the Hong Kong government to implement a ban that would give traders enough to time to dispose of their current stocks.

“Hong Kong’s ‘legal’ ivory stock was largely derived from elephants poached in the 1970s and 1980s before the international trade ban,” said Peter Knights, the CEO of Wildaid.

“Traders have had 26 years to liquidate their stocks. It’s time to close this open door for poaching.”

“The Hong Kong people have spoken,” said Quat. “They clearly want the government to ban this immoral trade.”

In March, Quat, who belongs to a pro-Beijing political party, got 32 Hong Kong deputies to China’s National People’s Congress to sign a suggested bill that would outlaw the domestic sale and transport of elephant ivory in China.

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