Trump should follow Xi Jinping’s lead on total ivory trade ban

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 November, 2017, 4:27pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 November, 2017, 10:24pm

It was with great shock that we heard of the decision of the US to reverse the import ban on hunting trophies and then some sense of relief that it was suspended.

Having just completed our annual Elephant Week in Hong Kong where we, along with a Maasai warrior, have seen more than 3,000 students in schools to discuss the issues of poaching and its effects on endangered species, it is such a disappointment that the so-called leader of the free world took such an enormous step backwards.

The overwhelming support from youth of all ages in Hong Kong to see an end to the trade in wildlife parts, especially those from endangered animals such as elephants, rhinos and lions, is very heartening, and we hope they will use their strong voice to push for a complete ban in the ivory trade here as soon as possible. We expect our youth to look up to our leaders and take them as role models. These people have a responsibility to behave as such and should lead by example.

If we continue to poach the way we are doing, elephants and rhinos will disappear within the next 10 to 15 years. Lions have been reduced in population by 75 per cent in the last 30 years, pangolins are the most poached species on the planet and even giraffes are now listed as endangered.

This is all due to human greed. It has been proved time and again that hunting does not improve the chances of the survival of these species, and this is largely down to the inability to have hunting controlled properly due to the ravages of corruption.

The message we and other groups in the race to save these animals are trying to get across, is that it is no longer acceptable to show ivory and such trophies as signs of wealth, especially when it is our generation that will need to tell future generations that it was us who let them become extinct when we had the chance not to.

We call upon Donald Trump to follow the excellent lead of those such as President Xi Jinping in the banning of the ivory trade. We ask Trump to be a man and stand up for those who don’t have a voice, to protect them from extinction and to simply do the right thing.

Colin Dawson, founder, the Elephant Society