Hong Kong's lawmakers have voted overwhelmingly to ban the trade in ivory

Hong Kong’s Lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to ban the trade of ivory labelling the industry a “cruel business”.

 The Legislative Council of Hong Kong voted overwhelmingly 49-4 to pass the new legislation, which will end a 150-year trade in the animal product. Under the law, commercial sales of elephant tusks will be phased out by completely by 2021 under a new three-step plan.
This follows China’s complete ban on ivory sales which goes in to full effect later on in the year. Since China first announced the ban there has been  80 per cent  drop in illegal ivory seizures at the border. The move also prompted legal ivory prices to plummet by more than 65 percent in Hong Kong over the past two years, WildAid noted.

Elephant African Bush Elephant Wilderness by Max Pixe

Alex Hofford, the Hong Kong campaigner for the group WildAid called the ban “a great moment in the history of elephant conservation”. He went on to add “Hong Kong has always been the ‘heart of darkness’ of the ivory trade with a 670-tonne stockpile when international trade was banned in 1989,”
Some have questioned why Hong Kong is allowed such a long grace period for ivory traders to phase out their businesses. Civic Party lawmaker and barrister Dennis Kwok added “the law is not aggressive enough as it provides a five-year grace period, which is quite a long time,”
Angry ivory traders have said they will be forced to close down their businesses and demanded the government compensate them for their stock

Hong Kong Ivory by Sputnik Mania

African ivory is highly sought after in China, where it is seen as a status symbol, and used to fetch as much as $1,100 a kilogram.

To educate people about the poaching of ivory, Mando pop star Jay Chou encouraged people from different countries to join him in stopping the trade.

Poaching in Africa has seen the elephant population fall by 110,000 over the last 10 years to just 415,000, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Poaching has seen the population fall by 110,000 over the past decade to just 415,000 animals, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Experts warn they could become extinct in the near future if this trend continues.