Hong Kong legislator calls for stringent laws to end to ivory trade

Hong Kong MP Elizabeth Quat and Former Miss Tanzania Jacqueline Mengi

Hong Kong MP Elizabeth Quat and Former Miss Tanzania Jacqueline Mengi

The member of Hong Kong Legislative Council Elizabeth Quat has urged governments around the globe to cooperate and stamp out illicit trade in ivory.

Quat has specifically called for new stringent laws particularly in China and Asia to ban ivory trade and elephant poaching around the world.

Dr Quat made the call in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania after visiting Tarangire National Park to see firsthand how ivory poaching is threatening the country’s and Africa’s wildlife.

She was accompanied by Wildlife Campaigner and anti-poaching Ambassador, former Miss Tanzania Jacqueline Mengi.

The lawmaker’s visit comes barely a month after Swiss authorities seized 262kg of ivory in eight suitcases, along with a kilo of lion teeth and claws at Zurich airport, worth US$ 413,000.

The suitcases were traced back to Tanzania’s Mwalimu Julius Nyerere International Airport and they were en route to Beijing, China.

“For many years the regulations have not been effective in stopping ivory trade. China has an established ivory industry with licensed dealers most of us didn’t know ivory resulted to killing elephants, now I understand,” she told the press.

Quat acknowledges laws wont overnight but with public awareness something tangible can happen.

The visiting lawmaker said “It’s very sad that elephants, the beautiful creatures are killed for mere decorations.”

Former Miss Tanzania and anti-poaching ambassador Mengi expressed her disappointment to “greedy Tanzanians who kill elephants for personal gain”

She called for the government’s investigation to ensure the suspects in the recent ivory seizure to face justice thereby sending a strong warning to potential poachers.

“There are security checks at our airport, but how come these people weren’t identified at out airport until they arrived in Zurich?,” she wondered.

Mengi said “this is a big challenge and a crisis to the nation. It shouldn’t be left to just ant-poaching ambassadors but as citizens of this nation we should play our part to protect the wildlife.”

The Tanzanian government is jointly working with the Swiss authorities as they investigate the source of the massive ivory and the suspected poachers.