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Hong Kong: World’s Ivory Sales Capital

Hong Kong's ivory market is booming thanks to an influx of tourists seeking luxury items — and that's impeding international efforts to end Africa’s elephant poaching crisis, according to a new report released Wednesday by Save the Elephants.

A survey of 72 Hong Kong retail outlets found nearly 31,000 ivory items displayed for sale, with jewelry the most popular item followed by figurines. Vendors estimated that 90% of customers were tourists from mainland China. 

“No other city surveyed has so many pieces of ivory on sale as Hong Kong,” report co-author Esmond Martin said in a statement. “With higher taxes on the mainland, Hong Kong has become a cheaper place to buy ivory. With 40 million people crossing the border between the territories every year and controls lax, there’s little chance of their getting caught.”

Licensed vendors can legally sell ivory products obtained prior to 1990 when an international ban on ivory imports went into effect. But the city's licensing system has been roundly condemned as ineffective, allowing for the sale of illegal ivory from recently poached elephants.  

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Lupita Nyong’o Joins WildAid as Global Elephant Ambassador

NAIROBI, Kenya (30 June 2015) — Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o has returned to her native Kenya and announced today that she will advocate globally for elephants with international conservation organization WildAid, as well as promote women’s issues, acting and the arts in Kenya.

“I am proud of my Kenyan heritage, and part of that heritage is the incredible wildlife haven that is in our care,” Ms. Nyong’o said. “I have come to realize that when you know more, you do more. I want to encourage people all over the world to learn more about these incredible animals. From reading a conservation website like WildAid.org to visiting one of the many, unforgettable, world-class national parks. I ask the world to end the current elephant poaching crisis by being ‘Ivory Free.’ It is time to ban sales of ivory worldwide and to consign the tragedy of the ivory trade to history.”

Ms. Nyong’o spent time in Amboseli National Park with the Amboseli Trust for Elephants and at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Nairobi elephant orphanage, meeting with local conservationists and filming messages for international distribution in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, China, Hong Kong, Thailand and the United States. These messages are designed to raise awareness of the elephant-poaching crisis and to reduce the demand for ivory in consuming markets. Ms. Nyongo also met with Kenya-based African Wildlife Foundation and Save the Elephants who partner on these projects, as well as representatives of Wildlife Direct, and Ol Pejeta and Lewa Conservancies — all groups active in combatting poaching in Kenya.

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CNN Features WildAid Hong Kong Campaigner

CNN has a great segment on WildAid Hong Kong's Alex Hofford, a leading voice in the campaign to put an end to Hong Kong's ivory market, one of the world's largest, as well as other key issues such as the shark fin trade. Check out the video below.

Scenes from the NYC #IvoryCrush

On Friday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) destroyed 1 ton of ivory in New York’s Times Square — a remarkable show of support and solidarity with Africa’s elephants and the people working to stop poaching and the illegal trade. 

WildAid was on hand to witness the destruction of these carvings in a 25-ton rock crusher — check out more photos/video of the event below.

During his remarks, USFWS director Daniel Ashe announced that his agency will be working with WildAid on an upcoming domestic campaign aimed at ending the illegal wildlife trade in the United States. We look forward to working with USFWS and we'll keep you updated on this campaign as it takes shape!

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In Hong Kong, a Student-Led Rallying Cry: Say No to Ivory

With three-quarters of Hong Kong citizens in support of a commercial ivory sales ban, schoolchildren have played a leading role in confronting one of the world’s largest ivory markets.

This past Saturday, 20 children from ESF Clearwater Bay School in Sai Kung District chanted the slogan “Say No to Ivory!” as they delivered to the Hong Kong government’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) a giant elephant collage made up of 120 individually hand-written messages, urging the government to ban ivory sales. 

The children, along with their teachers and parents, made up a boisterous crowd of around 50 people in the ground floor lobby of AFCD’s headquarters. 

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