Augmented reality mural art of wildlife animals take over the streets in Hong Kong as part of Breaking the Chain, a citywide campaign that raises awareness on the prevalent issue of illegal wildlife trafficking and to encourage people to join the petition for Hong Kong legislators to bring wildlife crime offences under The Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance. 

Hong Kong’s free trade policy, efficient trading network, geographical location in the Greater Bay Area and accessibility to mainland China and other Asian countries has enabled the city to become one of the largest hubs for wildlife trading in the world. The city’s thriving industry for both legal trading and illegal trafficking has seen more than millions of live animals and their derivatives, varying from live turtles and birds, to rhino horns and elephant ivory, as well as endangered species like pangolins, pass through its ports every year. 

Current laws are severely limited in deterring the extensive supply networks and smuggling operations taking place in Hong Kong. Under the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which restricts illegal imports, exports, and re-exports of any endangered species, sentencing for wildlife seizures has historically been lax.  According to the report Trading in Extinction published in 2018, of 165 prosecutions reviewed between 2013 and 2017, sentences ranged from penalties of HK$1,500 to HK$180,000, which pales in significance when compared to the value of the wildlife products and the aftercare costs. 

However, an amendment to the Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance is currently being reviewed and considered by the Hong Kong Legislative Council, which enables wildlife crimes and seizures to be treated as a serious offence. This could substantially provide greater sentencing powers to deter illegal trafficking activities in Hong Kong. 

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How You Can Help Stop Wildlife Trafficking

To help bring greater awareness to this potentially monumental progress to stem wildlife trafficking and protect animal biodiversity, a citywide mural campaign titled Break The Chain is being launched to encourage the Hong Kong public to get involved and get more than 10,000 signatures on a petition for the law to be passed. 

What’s more, local graffiti artists are joining the fight by creating stunning wildlife murals across the city, which are brought to life by augmented reality and Instagram filters. Discover life-sized rhino calves strolling along Central’s Shing Wong Street and giant elephants stomping through Wong Chuk Hang simply scanning the QR code on the murals. The QR also allows you to sign the petition and to learn more about the projects and the talented artists behind the wall. 

Watch the video below to learn more about wildlife trafficking in Hong Kong:

This article is written as part of an editorial partnership with ADM Capital Foundation and A.L.A.N.