Wildlife Trade Report
Still Trading in Extinction: The Dark Side of Hong Kong’s Wildlife Trade
In the midst of a global biodiversity crisis, Hong Kong authorities seized a record breaking 649 metric tonnes (MT) of rare and endangered wildlife across 1,404 seizures in 2018 and 2019.
This report summarises Hong Kong’s growing wildlife seizures (2018-2019), prosecutions (2017-2020) and the city’s continuing role in the global illicit wildlife trade.
Volumes seized in 2018 and 2019 surpassed all annual totals for the preceding decade (excluding 2015). Figures indicate a shift in trade dynamics with ivory in decline, pangolins (a staple of Hong Kong traffickers) remaining at devastatingly high levels and a worrying diversification of other endangered species in trade.
Background: In January 2019, members of the Hong Kong Wildlife Trade Working Group released “Trading in Extinction: The Dark Side of Hong Kong’s Wildlife Trade” which, for the first time, provided quantifiable data on the extent and nature of wildlife crime in Hong Kong spanning 2013 to 2017. It demonstrated that Hong Kong has a disproportionately large trafficking footprint and has long been exploited by organised and serious criminal groups in the pursuit of large profits from illegally traded wildlife.
Note: Following the publication of this report, the Hong Kong Government Environment Bureau (ENB) has been re-designated as the Environment & Ecology Bureau (EEB) as of July 2023. The Bureau’s website has accordingly changed from enb.gov.hk to eeb.gov.hk, affecting a number of the references provided in this report.