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Hong Kong ivory ban receives widespread support

Hong Kong's Legislative Council Panel on Environmental Affairs will hear public comments Tuesday on government plans to ban the trade in elephant ivory products.

In advance of the public hearing, the council received about 275 letters in support of the ban from Hong Kong residents and other interested individuals from as far away as South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

Representatives from around 20 conservation groups, including WildAid, will address the council in favor of ending the ivory trade in Hong Kong. Mainland China is in the process of closing all its ivory carving factories and retail shops by the end of 2017.

China to close ivory shops and factories as price plummets

29 March 2017 – In a major step toward implementing its pledge to ban the ivory trade, China will close 67 carving factories and retail shops across the country on Friday, WildAid has learned. The first round of closures impacts about a third of all official shops and factories, according to documents released by China’s State Forestry Administration. 

Late last year, China announced plans to stop all domestic ivory sales by the end of 2017. The country is currently the world’s largest market for elephant ivory products. Although international trade is prohibited, up to 30,000 elephants are killed illegally each year for their tusks.

“These closures prove that China means business in closing down the ivory trade and helping the African elephant,” said Peter Knights, CEO of WildAid. “The price of ivory has dropped by two-thirds from previous highs, so it is now a very bad investment. We expect further drops as the full closure approaches at the end of the year.

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Thai Business Leaders Pledge to be Ivory Free with WildAid

Thai business leaders take WildAid's ivory free pledge

On Thai Elephant Day, WildAid united 15 prominent Thai business leaders with a pledge to never use elephant ivory or other wildlife products.

In a show of solidarity, the nation's top business leaders joined our call and urged stronger enforcement and more effective wildlife conservation action.

Thailand is a major destination market and trans-shipment hub to China and other markets for ivory products primarily from some of the roughly 33,000 elephants poached annually in Africa.

China Announces Domestic Ivory Ban

BEIJING (30 December 2016) — The end of the world’s largest ivory market was announced today by the Chinese government as it released a detailed timetable for ending its legal ivory trade. Domestic ivory sales will be banned by the end of 2017 with the first batch of factories and traders to close their business by 31 March 2017.

Martial Arts Actor Tony Jaa Leads New 'Ivory Free' Thailand Campaign

 WildAid and WWF-Thailand representatives with Tony Jaa (center) at the June 13 launch in Bangkok

BANGKOK (14 June 2016) — International martial arts actor Tony Jaa (Furious 7Ong-Bak 3) and Thai National Football Team Coach Zico” Kiatisuk Senamuang will lead an all-star team of celebrity ambassadors calling for an end to Thailand’s ivory trade, one of the world’s largest. 

The new campaign, created by WildAid and WWF-Thailand and launched Monday, highlights the impact of the Thai ivory trade on elephant poaching in Africa, where an estimated 33,000 elephants are killed each year for their tusks. Public service announcements and print billboards will be widely distributed throughout the country, from BTS SkyTrain stations in Bangkok to several national TV channels and multiple social media platforms. WATCH: Tony Jaa’s new PSA for WildAid and WWF-ThailandThis PSA was produced by WildAid with the support of WWF, African Wildlife Foundation and Save the Elephants. 

The ivory trade has been banned in the United States, and proposed bans in China and Hong Kong are in motion, leaving Thailand alongside Japan as the largest remaining markets. Thailand also plays a key role as a transit point for smuggled ivory: Current Thai law allows trading of ivory from domesticated Thai elephants, but conservationists are concerned that illegal African ivory is laundered through this loophole.  

Thailand made several major illegal ivory seizures last year: Since October 2015, Thai customs has made four seizures of ivory originating from Africa, totaling more than 800 kilograms. The latest seizure in April 2016 was more than 300 kilograms. 

“With historic announcements from the US, China and Hong Kong to shut down their ivory markets, the time has come for Thailand to join the herd and do its part to save Africa’s elephants,” said WildAid CEO Peter Knights.

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