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UPDATED: Hong Kong Starts Destruction of Record Stockpile of Illegal Elephant Ivory

Today, the Hong Kong government started the destruction of the largest stockpile of illegal elephant ivory on record. Twenty-eight tons is set to be destroyed over the course of a year.

This move indicates efforts by the Hong Kong government to combat the illegal ivory trade, which is fueling an elephant poaching crisis. Hong Kong, a major transit hub and consumer market for illegal ivory, is ranked fifth in the world in ivory seizures. In 2012, an estimated 30,000 elephants were slaughtered to feed the black market trade in ivory.

“Hong Kong, a major transit hub for illegal ivory, is sending a clear message by destroying their seized ivory that the government will not tolerate the poaching of elephants and the illegal trade of their ivory. The government must follow this with strengthened enforcement and tightened monitoring of ivory sales,” said Ginette Hemley, Senior Vice President, Wildlife Conservation, World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Earlier this year, countries including China, Chad and France destroyed their stockpiles of seized ivory. The U.S. destroyed its stockpile last winter.