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AWF CEO Commends Hong Kong's Decision to Destroy Its Ivory Stockpile

  • Thursday, January 23, 2014
  • Nairobi, Kenya
U.S. ivory stockpile. Photo by Jimmiel Mandima

Hong Kong follows China, the United States, Philippines, Gabon and Kenya, and decides to destroy its ivory stockpiles. Photo: Jimmiel Mandima

"The culture of ivory worship in Hong Kong is deep-rooted and centuries-old, which makes the decision to destroy any ivory…that much more extraordinary."

Following the decision made today by the Endangered Species Advisory Committee of Hong Kong’s Agricultural, Fisheries and Conservation Department to destroy most of Hong Kong’s stockpile of ivory, the African Wildlife Foundation released the following statement from CEO Dr. Patrick Bergin:

On behalf of the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), I welcome today’s decision by Hong Kong’s Endangered Species Advisory Committee to destroy most of the region’s stockpile of ivory, and I commend the Committee for drawing attention to the devastation wrought on wild elephants, particularly in Africa, by the ivory trade. 

The culture of ivory worship in Hong Kong is deep-rooted and centuries-old, which makes the decision to destroy any ivory, much less an estimated 33 metric tons, that much more extraordinary. The public destruction of Hong Kong’s stockpile will raise awareness among ivory collectors and those who aspire to own ivory that their coveted product has a dark side, one that is connected to wholesale elephant slaughter, civil unrest, terrorism, and a complex supply network of criminals and corrupted officials.

In recent years, several countries have destroyed their ivory stockpiles, declaring with their bold action that ivory belongs only to elephants and not to those who would kill, break the rule of law, or pay handsomely for it. Hong Kong, as a major destination and transit hub for trafficked ivory, will soon join that growing list of leaders that are placing a higher value on a living elephant than pieces of a dead one. Hong Kong’s authorities, along with the many individuals and local groups in Hong Kong advocating on behalf of the elephant, are to be commended, imitated, and encouraged.

To learn more about AWF’s position on ivory stockpiles and trade, visit www.awf.org/ivoryposition.

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