ADMCF aims to support the conservation of terrestrial and marine biodiversity by working with partners to address both the legal and illegal trade in threatened species in Asia.
Strategy and Focus Areas
Hong Kong, along with Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand and China, is an internationally recognised hub for wildlife trafficking and as such plays an important role in global networks that supply poached wildlife across Asia.
As a Hong Kong-based Foundation, our strategy is to work with local and global partners to improve regulation of the wildlife trade in Hong Kong via legislative reform and to facilitate enhanced enforcement of wildlife laws.
This necessarily involves gathering information and data to inform and facilitate dialogue, the development of legislative proposals and engagement with the government and policy makers. At the same time extensive public engagement is needed to ensure support from the community at large. This work is ongoing and the projects below highlight our approach and recent and current workstreams.
Hong Kong is a
wildlife trafficking hub
Annual value of illegal trade:
Why we care about wildlife trade
In 2018, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) announced that 26,500 species were threatened with extinction including 41% of amphibians, 25% of mammals, 31% of sharks and rays, 33% of coral reefs and 14% of birds. Considering only a small percentage (~6%) of the nearly 1.8 million described species have been analysed, this number is likely a gross underestimate. The reasons for this situation include habitat loss, pollution, climate change, invasion of alien species, overexploitation and, importantly, the growing trade in and increasing consumption/use of wildlife products almost exclusively for luxury and non-essential purposes. Driven by increasing affluence and demand in Asia, these trades are pushing many species towards extinction.
In recent years, wildlife trafficking has reached unprecedented levels. Large volumes and high value consignments of illegal wildlife, including (but not limited to) ivory, shark fin, live reef food fish, pangolin products, totoaba, a range of exotic pets (mostly reptiles), rhino horn, and manta ray, have been (and continue to be) trafficked through Hong Kong, annually.
The situation persists in large part because of Hong Kong’s proximity to demand centres for wildlife products and the city’s efficient free port providing a gateway to China. Hong Kong is also home to one of the busiest deepwater ports and airports in the world, that facilitate vast trade flows into Asia annually.
Despite legislative changes in 2018 phasing out of the domestic ivory trade and increasing trafficking penalties, the city’s legislature, has not kept pace with the global increase in the wildlife trade and in wildlife crime. Instead the Hong Kong government continues to focus on prosecuting individuals carrying relatively small volumes of wildlife contraband, rather than investigating the networks behind these individuals and the containers seized carrying large volumes of illegal products. Consequently, the new penalties are unlikely to have a deterrent effect on those orchestrating the networks.
Further, wildlife trafficking facilitated by international networks and syndicates is not addressed as serious and organised by the city’s legislature, despite mounting evidence to indicate this. Wildlife crime thus remains a high-profit, low-risk industry set to continue.
Our Latest Blogs
China, Hong Kong
February 29, 2020
Sophie le Clue
As of 29th February 2019, COVID-2019 has stricken over 85,400 people in a matter of 2-3 months, resulting in the deaths of over 2,830. These numbers should be put into perspective against annual influenza, which according to the ...
June 27, 2019
Perhaps the seminal moment for all of us at ADM Capital Foundation in 2018 was the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. This covered the impacts of global warming 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. ...
June 18, 2019
Sophie le Clue
Little known, massively trafficked and facing extinction because of the scales meant to protect it. The pangolin is a remarkable creature, not least because of its unusual biology and character, but also because despite being ...