Target: Minister Gao Hucheng of Ministry of Commerce People’s Republic of China
Goal: Save the rare helmeted hornbill from extinction by regulating Chinese markets.
The rare and beautiful helmeted hornbill is threatened with extinction because its skull is being sold as an ivory alternative. China was the world’s leading buyer for illegal ivory and now, in an attempt to protect African elephants and rhinoceroses, has turned its gaze to an unacceptable alternative; the helmeted hornbill is already in danger as it loses its habitat in Malaysia and Indonesia.
In the past five years, more than 2,000 helmeted hornbill skulls being trafficked to China have been confiscated. According to the Environmental Investigation Agency, Chinese citizens, caught by Indonesian authorities, were even found trying to smuggle into China luggage filled with the skulls. The reddish colored hornbill skull is carved into ornaments and is called “red ivory”.
Bans on commercial trade, so far, have not protected the critically endangered helmeted hornbill’s population. In 2015 the helmeted hornbill bird was moved up on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species from near threatened to critically endangered– the highest risk category signifying a very high risk of extinction in the wild. Without action now, the forests that are home to the helmeted hornbill will miss the unique and happy laugh-like call of this incredible bird.
The only way to protect this already critically endangered species is by enforcing regulations and bans on commercial trade of the helmeted hornbill skull before the criminals and poachers completely deplete its population to meet ivory alternative demands. Demand strong regulation against “red ivory” commercial trade to protect the helmeted hornbill population.
Dear Minister Gao Hucheng,
Red ivory decorations are beautiful but the skulls from which they are carved will soon be unavailable if the helmeted hornbill is poached to extinction. In fact, the already endangered hornbill has an increasingly declining population because of habitat loss in Indonesia and Malaysia. In 2015 the helmeted hornbill bird was moved up on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species from near threatened to critically endangered– the highest risk category signifying a very high risk of extinction in the wild.
If the Chinese market, with its high demand for ivory alternatives, enforces the regulations against the commercial trade of the hornbill skull, it will give this incredibly beautiful bird (much more beautiful than the decorations created from it) the chance to recover in the natural world. Regulation of Chinese consumption has such a powerful impact that China can turn its market into an example to follow for the rest of the world.
Enforcing regulations to protect the stunning helmeted hornbill is absolutely necessary for its survival. I demand strong regulation against “red ivory” commercial trade to protect the helmeted hornbill population.
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