By Astrid Andersson
Earlier today, a group of over 25 local activists joined forces to encourage the Hong Kong government to vote to burn its 33-tonne ivory stockpile at tomorrow’s decisive meeting of governmental departments.
At 2.30pm local time on January 23, 2014, Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) will meet with an Endangered Species Advisory Committee, and what to do with the confiscated ivory stockpile is on the agenda.
“There’s 15 people on the committee, of which four of them are government members: two from AFCD, one from customs and one from the Environmental Protection Department – all of these support the plan, as does the chairman. Based on our intel there’s another three supporters on the committee, two people are against and three are no the fence,” says Hong Kong for Elephants spokesperson Alex Hofford.
In the interest of swaying opinions in the elephant’s favor, the group has been campaigning tirelessly in the build up to the meeting. Hofford himself has photocopied and sent copies of the incinerator manual to advisory committee members in order to dispel fears that burning will generate pollution — listed at the previous meeting as a reason not to burn the stockpile. Stickers, flyers, posters, thank you cards and petitions signed by a collective number of 64,254 people were also presented to members of both the customs department and AFCD by the group, its supporters, and three young prominent activists: Nellie Shute, 12, Lucy Skrine, 11, and Christina Seigrist, 9 — who have been the face of elephant conservation in Hong Kong over the past year or so.
The event generated considerable media attention, with representatives from local TV stations, the South China Morning Post and Annamiticus present.
“Today’s been a great success,” said Sharon Kwok from Hong Kong for Elephants “I really think the government has received our message loud and clear.”
Let’s hope so. Photos.