HONG KONG — In a significant boost for Africa’s elephants, leaders of Hong Kong’s largest political party have announced plans to push for a commercial ivory ban in China.
On Monday, five lawmakers from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) announced at the party’s annual Chinese New Year press conference that they would submit a recommendations to ban the domestic sale and transportation of elephant ivory in China for discussion in Beijing next month, when officials will convene for annual plenary sessions of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Read more...
Whether Thandi and her new calf will be enduring symbols of survival or merely a blip of good news in the tragic war against brutal rhino poaching has yet to be seen. Despite hundreds of South African National Defence Force troops and sophisticated drone technology being deployed to intercept poachers in South Africa’s parks, numbers of dead rhino continue to increase. A record 1,215 rhinos were illegally killed in that country last year, up from 1,004 in 2013 and 668 in 2012. The high prices paid for rhino horn on black markets in China and Vietnam are financing corruption and sophisticated international criminal networks that are very difficult to defeat as we have in the “war on drugs.”
A precipitous spike in rhino and elephant poaching has dominated environmental news headlines in recent weeks, with record numbers of rhinos killed in South Africa last year and sting operations in multiple African nations uncovering elephant ivory bound for Asian markets.
But look closer at the coverage, and you may also read about one obscure animal equally imperiled by the illegal wildlife trade — and a fraction the physical size of these megafauna.