Stoking fires of outrage
When Kenya set fire to the world’s biggest stockpile of ivory, it once again brought an illicit trade to the world’s attention in a dramatic fashion. On the black market, the 105 tonnes of ivory could fetch more than US$100 million, and the 1.35 tonnes of rhino horn that also went up in flames could have sold for as much as US$60,000 per kilo – more than gold or cocaine. Hong Kong is often seen as a centre for global wildlife trafficking. In January, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said the government would kick start legislative procedures as soon as possible to ban the import and export of elephant-hunting trophies and explore other measures, such as legislation to further ban the import and export of ivory and phase out the local ivory trade, as well as imposing heavier penalties on smuggling and illegal trading of endangered species. Meanwhile, wildlife activists want a complete ban on the ivory trade in Hong Kong, as they say legal sales help mask the illegal ones.