On Saturday June 13, twenty children from the English School Foundation’s Clearwater Bay School presented an elephant collage petition to the Hong Kong Government’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department at Government Offices in Cheung Sha Wan.
The elephant was made up of 120 handwritten messages contributed by all of the six-year-old Year Two pupils from the school. Chanting, “Say no to ivory!”, the children called on the Government to legislate for a complete ban on commercial sales of elephant ivory in Hong Kong.
The young protesters were joined by Alex Hofford from WildAid, the only organisation to focus solely on reducing the demand for wildlife products. WildAid states that the Hong Kong Government’s inaction on this issue is perpetuating a modern day elephant poaching crisis and African elephants could become extinct in the wild within our lifetime if current poaching rates continue.
“Hong Kong has long been a hub for the illegal ivory trade, and suffers from weak ivory licensing controls," Hofford tell us. "The only way to sort out the problem is to ban the trade outright.”
Hofford had recently visited the school to give a talk about elephant conservation and his words certainly inspired the children to take action to help protect the future of the species.
"We can’t believe that it is still legal to sell ivory in Hong Kong!", Year 2 student Leo Kloth tells us. "We learned that between 2010 and 2012, 100,000 elephants were killed illegally for their tusks. Elephants are beautiful animals and they are very clever. They are very good at protecting their babies. We are really sad because people are killing these beautiful animals."
Leo's classmate Reia Kwan was equally as outraged by the shocking statistics. "We feel very strongly about helping elephants and we decided to take action to try and save them," she explained.
We want to see elephants as we grow up and we want our children to see elephants too. It's up to us to save them. That's why we wrote our own message to the Government asking them to stop allowing people to sell ivory in Hong Kong. We chanted ‘Say no to ivory’."
Mother of two of the young protesters, Polly McGovern tells us, “I am really proud of my twins Lucas and Jasmine for participating in this cause. I want them to know that they can change the world by standing up for what they believe in.”
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