Seized ivory tusks are displayed prior to their destruction by incineration in Hong Kong on May 15, 2014
Philippe Lopez—AFP/Getty Images
January 14, 2016 4:30 AM EST

Hong Kong, one of the world’s largest ivory hubs, will “take steps” to shut down its domestic ivory trade, the territory’s leader said Wednesday.

“It will be a total ban,” Leung Chun-ying, Hong Kong’s chief executive, told reporters during a press conference following his annual policy address.

Leung did not provide a timeline for when the ban would be instituted and enforced.

“We will do it expeditiously, as quickly as we can,” he said. “But this will, as you probably appreciate, require legislative amendments.”

China accounts for most of the world’s demand for ivory, which is obtained from poachers killing tens of thousands of elephants each year for their tusks. Hong Kong is a key transit point for the trade’s illegal entry into mainland China, but has come under increasing pressure to curb the industry in recent years.


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