Government should not compensate ivory traders in Hong Kong for their stock


South China Morning Post, Letters

Date Published

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I am writing to express my support for the Hong Kong government’s ivory ban. I believe this to be extremely important legislation in view of the unacceptable slaughter of live elephants simply to supply ivory for the international trade.

For the same reason, I fully support the government’s proposed increase in penalties for wildlife crime. It is not only elephants, but also rhinos, tigers, pangolins and many other species which are being pushed to the very brink of extinction in the wild by international trade in wildlife – including the live animal trade in addition to body parts.

Finally, I strongly oppose the suggestion that the Hong Kong government should pay any compensation to the city’s ivory traders for their stocks.

I understand that the traders have been warned for many years that they should prepare and sell their ivory stocks. Moreover, the proposed ban was announced 15 months ago and, in addition, the traders have an additional five-year grace period once the law comes into force. If compensation is offered, the traders will seek to increase their stocks (from illegally poached elephants) before the ban is finalised.

Elephant populations in Africa are facing unprecedented levels of poaching, rangers are losing their lives and the tourist industry, which brings in desperately needed foreign exchange to many African countries, has already been adversely affected.

For the above reasons, and on behalf of the elephants (long lived, highly intelligent and extremely social), I urge the Hong Kong government to impose the ivory ban, introduce increased penalties for all wildlife crime, and refuse to compensate ivory traders for their stocks.

—Jane Goodall, founder, the Jane Goodall Institute