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  • Dec 24, 2014
  • Updated: 11:29pm
NewsHong Kong
ANIMAL WELFARE

Hong Kong International School removes ivory after pupil's complaint

Display of tusks returned to government after animal welfare campaigner calls for review

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 November, 2013, 6:01am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 November, 2013, 9:37am
 

A Hong Kong school has removed a display of ivory taken from dead elephants following a complaint from a young animal-welfare campaigner.

The Hong Kong International School acted after sixth grade pupil Nellie Shute, 11, asked it to review a decision to put ivory objects on show at the upper primary school in Repulse Bay. The ivory will be handed back to the government.

"I objected because … there were ivory tusks and carvings on display in my school and I know the intention was to educate kids, but I don't think it was actually doing that," Nellie said.

Shute thereby added her voice to the growing chorus calling for environment officials to destroy a staggering haul of illegally imported ivory, worth hundreds of millions of dollars on the black market.

"I want other schools to take what we did as an example," Shute said. "If the government has given them tusks, they should send them back and refuse to take any more."

Last year, the government handed the school two polished ivory tusks, a detailed ivory tusk carving, a bracelet and other objects, which went on display in an art cabinet.

The move was part of an initiative to use impounded ivory to educate children about the how the illegal trade is endangering animals.

Nellie said environmental officials had no idea what to do with their ivory stockpiles. "The government is confiscating ivory, but it's not educating the kids because they really don't know what to do [with it]."

An Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department spokeswoman said: "The AFCD will arrange for taking over the concerned specimens. The returned ivory will enter our stockpile again.

"The AFCD … adheres to relevant CITES [the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora] guidelines that allow use [of ivory] for scientific studies, enforcement and education."

In the past 12 months, customs officials have made seven seizures at the city's container port, amassing 26 tonnes of ivory. Anti-poaching campaigners say destroying such stockpiles deters poachers, smugglers and buyers.

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This article is now closed to comments

lori.sirianni
When will Hong Kong finally destroy its ivory stockpile? The whole world is watching and waiting. Up to half of Hong Kong's stockpile has grown legs and disappeared - pilfered by corrupt people who are supposed to be guarding it. China needs to follow the lead of Kenya, the Philippines and the US and DESTROY it beyond any possible use. Take small samples for DNA testing and prosecution, then crush it. We're sick of the lame excuses from Hong Kong. If you're serious about stopping the illegal ivory trade and you're not just paying lip service to the rest of the world, destroy it! Actions speak louder than words!
mark.chudleigh.7
What are ivory tusks , doing in an international school in Hong Kong anyway ???
nikev.ericius
Does it take children to see through the craziness?
How can the remnants of a specie lie about their school - which adult considered ivory OK? Until those kids grow up, it's going to take real men - trained and agressive, but with a heart - to protect the rhino and elephants in their habitat from sickest of humanity. See how the IAPF deal with this, and get behind a forceful reponse to poachers. www.iapf.org
rmackinnon
Nellie of Hong Kong International School removes the ivory tusks and other carved items from her school shelf, boxes it up, and send it back to the Hong Kong government! Well done Nellie!!!
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