Hong Kong Elephant Walk pushes to protect elephants, sharks and pangolins


Gloria Chan, South China Morning Post

Date Published
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Protection for elephants, sharks and pangolins topped the agenda at the third annual Elephant Walk this afternoon.

Braving chilly winds, participants dressed in black called for a full ban on the local ivory trade. They marched along the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade starting at the Museum of Art to the Clock Tower from 2:30 to 5pm today.
Speaking at the Elephant Walk’s opening ceremony this afternoon, Dr Christine Loh Kung-wai, Undersecretary of Environment in Hong Kong, urged NGOs to keep voicing out against ivory, shark fins, and pangolins.
“The government’s promotions are not useless but they are different from NGOs’,” Loh told the Post. “Theirs are more creative and effective [in changing the public’s perception towards endangered species].”
Referring to the recent joint pledge by Washington and Beijing to enact a near-complete ban on imports and exports of ivory, Loh said the Hong Kong government is communicating with Chinese authorities to understand what “near ban” means and will act accordingly.
Hong Kong is a major trading hub for illegal ivory products, ranking fifth globally for quatity of ivory contraband confiscated, ivory researchers Esmond Martin & Lucy Vigne said in a 2015 report.
The city is also the world’s largest retail market for ivory, with 400 licensed businesses offering more than 30,000 pieces on sale, the report says.
“We must ban domestic trade that provides an avenue for illegal ivory to be laundered for sale,” said Sharon Kwok Sau-wan, Executive Director of AquaMeridan.
Hong Kong’s participation in the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos, initiated by the AquaMeridian Conservation and Education Foundation, was originally set for October 4, World Animal Day.
It was postoned a week due to unstable weather brought on by Typhoon Mujigae.
Over 150 cities, such as London, Paris, Nairobi, Singapore and Tokyo, participated in the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos last weekend.