Over 100 protestors, more than 50 of them primary school children, converged this past weekend on the city’s ivory traders of Hollywood Road to peacefully protest Hong Kong’s elephant ivory trade. Activists ranging in age from 10-12, held placards and shouted slogans as they called for members of the public to stop buying elephant ivory and for the Hong Kong government to ban the city’s ivory trade. The school children attend ESF Clearwater Bay School, ESF Kennedy School, ESF West Island School, and Canadian International School.
According to NGO Save the Elephants, 100,000 African elephants were illegally killed for their ivory tusks between 2010 and 2012 — fueled in large part by demand from Hong Kong and China according to several conservationist groups.
The protest came just days after the Kenyan government publicly destroyed 15 tonnes of illegal ivory, China announced a ban on certain ivory carvings from Africa, and the US State of California moved a step closer to banning nearly all in-state ivory sales as a bill passed out of a state assembly committee on a 10-2 vote.
The students filed past several antique shops on Hollywood Road, none of which were seen to be displaying valid licenses for their ivory stocks. The demonstrators were joined by Greenpeace volunteers, a contingent from the city’s anti-fur and pro-animal welfare lobby, and by concerned members of the public.
The protest also filed past several shops selling ivory on Queen’s Road Central as well as two small-scale ivory carving factories. Organizers are calling the anti-ivory trade protest the largest to date in Hong Kong and the fifth in a series of youth-led protests, all of which have seen positive citizen action result in tangible change.
In 2014, four major retailers denounced the selling of elephant ivory products after protests outside their stores forced them to consider their support for the “blood ivory” trade. Last year, Chinese Arts & Crafts, Wing On Department Store, Yue Hwa Chinese Products Emporium, and Chinese Good Centre Limited department stores either cited “adjustment of product mix” or “environmental concerns” as their stated reason for suspending elephant ivory sales. Demonstrating the industry’s willingness to adapt to public opinion, these commercial establishments responded positively to the sentiments of the public upon whom they rely for business.[masterslider id=57]