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Hong Kong votes to ban ivory trade by 2021

01 / 02 / 2018, Mongabaycom News

In a historic move, 49 Hong Kong lawmakers voted on Jan. 31 to end all domestic ivory trade by 2021 and passed the Endangered Species of Animals and Plants (Amendment) Bill 2017, also called the Hong Kong Ivory Ban Bill. Only four legislators voted against the ban. The overwhelming vote comes just a month after China shut down all of its ivory markets and factories on the mainland. The new ivory ban bill also increases penalties for wildlife crimes. “Today’s decision is another milestone for the conservation of elephants, and should serve as further encouragement for governments in the region to put an end to the domestic ivory markets that fuel the poaching crisis,” James Compton, senior program director for wildlife trafficking watchdog TRAFFIC in Asia Pacific, said in a statement. “Hong Kong’s legislators should be congratulated for choosing to stand on the right side of history.” Ivory jewelry. Photo by USFWS Mountain-Prairie, licensed under CC BY 2.0/Flickr. Hong Kong, one of the world’s largest ivory markets, is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). In 1989, CITES banned international trade in elephant ivory by placing elephants on Appendix I. The convention did not mandate the closure of domestic markets, though. So Hong Kong continued to allow ivory imported before 1976 (pre-convention or before CITES was established) or before 1990 (pre-ban ivory) to be legally traded. However, traders have been using loopholes within Hong Kong’s laws to re-stock their “legal” ivory…

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