Ebbing away Hong Kong's ivory trade

Published 10 August 2021


Vigilant monitoring and increased traceability needed before Hong Kong SAR ivory ban comes into force at end of 2021

As Hong Kong1 moves towards the final step of a landmark ivory ban, TRAFFIC has released a report that acknowledges progress, but urges tighter regulation on privately owned ivory stocks, antique ivory and licensing to prevent these products from entering illicit markets.

Ebbing away: Hong Kong's ivory trade

Report author(s):
Wilson Lau

Publication date:
August 2021


  1. Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China is referred to as “Hong Kong”.
  2. As specified in the 2018 amendments to Hong Kong legislation, Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance (Cap. 586), a trader’s license must be displayed alongside an Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) poster. Although there has been an increase in the display of licenses and posters, the number of ivory items for sale remains high
  3. The first two phases of the ban prohibited importing and re-exporting all elephant hunting trophies and introduced a requirement for commercial premises selling ivory to be licensed since 2018. The phased approach allowed a four-year grace period for traders to obtain a license to liquidate their stocks legally. This has proved instrumental in reducing the number of outlets observed selling ivory to 48% of the total survey sample, a drop of 8% between 2015 and 2019.


The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is responsible for the majority of overseas development assistance from the United States Government and works to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies while advancing security and prosperity for America and the world.

About the Rufford Foundation

The Rufford Foundation is a UK registered charity which funds nature conservation projects across the developing world. To date the Foundation has awarded grants to over 4000 projects in 156 countries.