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Elephants are Elliana Patel’s favourite mammal – and even at the tender age of seven she’s doing everything she can to protect them.
Patel and her three-year-old sister joined about 40 other children for an ivory trade protest in Sheung Wan yesterday.
“I want to tell people not to kill elephants for their tusks … killing them is not OK,” said the youngster, who held a handmade sign at the rally organised by NGO WildAid.
“People use the tusks to make things, but we can always use other materials to make them. We don’t really need [the ivory].”
Patel was joined by fellow pupils from the Canadian International School, as well as other students from Clearwater Bay School and Kennedy School.
Together with parents and volunteers, the 90-strong group marched along Hollywood Road and Queen’s Road, where several stores sell ivory products.
Hannah Roseman, 10, from Clearwater Bay School, said she found the elephant hunting, trapping and extraction of tusks “terrifying” after learning about ivory poaching for a school project.
“We want to stop [the ivory trade], or else elephants will get extinct,” said Roseman’s classmate Lana Wearne, also 10.
“We hope to see some [ivory] shops shut down, and that selling ivory will be banned and poachers will go out of business.”
According to non-profit group Save the Elephants, about 100,000 African elephants were illegally slaughtered for their tusks between 2010 to 2012, fuelled by Chinese demand for ivory goods.
But Sheung Wan shop owner Amy Wong, who legally sells mammoth ivory, disagreed that Chinese demand had a significant impact because “only a small group can afford it anyway”. “To say they will kill all elephants because of Chinese demand, it is not going to happen,” she said.
An open letter to President Xi Jinping urging him to outlaw the ivory trade in China has been signed by 39 members of the British Parliament, lobbied by pro-Beijing lawmaker Elizabeth Quat.
Hong Kong incinerates a tonne of seized ivory every month.