Hippo comes aboard the protected ark
THE hippopotamus and the saiga antelope have been added to the updated list of animal and plant species that now come under licensing control.
The Animals and Plants (Protection of Endangered Species) Ordinance was recently revised following decisions reached at a conference of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) last November.
The import and export of species added to the schedules will be subject to licensing control.
The additions to the list that may concern Hong Kong include box turtles, all species of pangolin, the Indian flap-shell turtle, tarantulas, emperor scorpions, agar wood and the Himalayan yew.
Hong Kong has also imposed control on the possession of endangered species.
However, a possession licence for saiga antelope horn, hippopotamus teeth, agar wood and some less endangered species will not be necessary.
Amendments to the ordinance included certain de-listings of species, such as aloe vera.
The Endangered Species Advisory Committee - comprising members of the scientific community, the Chinese medicine trade, and traders in animals and plants - was consulted for the amendments.
The maximum penalty for offences under the Animals and Plants (Protection of Endangered Species) Ordinance is a $5 million fine and two years' imprisonment.
For more information on the ordinance amendments, call the Agriculture and Fisheries Department's Fauna Conservation Section on 2733-2124.