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Hong Kong bans ivory trade in 'historic' vote

January 31, 2018 4:18 pm

*Hong Kong’s lawmakers have voted overwhelmingly to ban the trade in ivory, in a move campaigners described as “a lifeline for elephants”.

A similar ban was brought in across mainland China earlier this year.

Ivory sales will be phased out gradually in Hong Kong, stopping completely in 2021.

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Prior to the vote, demonstrators gathered outside Hong Kong’s legislature with signs reading: “Do you really need ivory chopsticks?”

“Shutting down this massive ivory market has thrown a lifeline to elephants,” said Bert Wander of the global advocacy group Avaaz.
How big is Hong Kong’s ivory market?

Ivory from animal tusks – mostly those of elephants – has been traded in Hong Kong for more than 150 years.

It is considered the world’s largest ivory market.

WildAid Hong Kong, a conservation group, says the former British colony had a 670-tonne stockpile in 1989, when the global trade was banned.

Only ivory dating from before that period is meant to be sold, but campaigners say the legal trade is often a cover for illegal activities.

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