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Hong Kong votes to ban sale of ivory



Above: An elephant household walks the Vumbura Plains of the Okavango Delta in Botswana.

Hong Kong banned the sale of ivory on Wednesday, the most recent blow to an unlawful commerce that has introduced elephants to the brink of extinction.

The information got here as lawmakers in the UK have been contemplating an analogous transfer, The Guardian reported earlier this month.

Lawmakers in Hong Kong voted for a invoice that may abolish the ivory commerce by 2021, following China’s full ban on ivory gross sales that went into impact on the finish of final yr, The Guardian reported.

Hong Kong’s ban shall be enforced in three levels: an preliminary ban on commerce in searching trophies and ivory relationship from after 1975, adopted by a ban on the sale of ivory acquired earlier than 1975, and eventually, merchants must get rid of their inventory by 2021. The penalties for violators shall be elevated to a most high-quality of HK$ 10 million (US$ 1.3 million) and as much as 10 years in jail.

Conservation teams lauded the transfer.

“This is just the latest milestone in a global movement to end the global ivory trade and protect elephants in the wild,” mentioned M. Sanjayan, CEO of Conservation Worldwide, which has labored with communities in Africa for years to assist shield the animals. “Other nations considering ivory bans must follow through with strong action, and enforcement must remain a priority for countries that have committed to closing their markets.”

In keeping with the most up-to-date statistics from the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature, at the very least 36 elephants are killed every day for his or her ivory. At this time, there are solely 350,000 African savanna elephants left within the wild, marking a decline of 30 p.c in lower than a decade. In the meantime, the unlawful wildlife commerce has funneled billions of {dollars} to organized crime networks.

“Elephant populations remain in jeopardy,” Sanjayan mentioned, “but today’s news provides new hope that the tide is turning in their favor.”

Morgan Lynch is a employees author for Conservation Worldwide.

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