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UK Government to tighten screws on ivory trade

UK Government to tighten screws on ivory trade

The UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove proposed a ban on ivory sales to help bring an end to elephant poaching.

According to the British High Commission in Windhoek in a statement this week, the ban will prohibit the sale of ivory items of all ages. The plans will put the UK at the forefront of global efforts to address the drastic decline in the elephant population.

The UK will impose a ban on ivory sales to help bring an end to the poaching of elephants, under plans announced by Environment Secretary, Michael Gove.

The proposals will protect elephants and help combat poaching by removing opportunities for criminals to trade illegally-poached ivory.

The plan will be subject to a 12 week consultation closing on 29 December, and cover items of all ages, not only those created after a certain date.

The number of elephants has declined by almost a third in the last decade and around 20,000 a year are still being slaughtered due to the global demand for ivory. If current rates of poaching continue, elephants could become extinct within decades in some African countries.

Gove said, “The decline in the elephant population fuelled by poaching for ivory shames our generation. The need for radical and robust action to protect one of the world’s most iconic and treasured species is beyond dispute. Ivory should never be seen as a commodity for financial gain or a status symbol – so we want to ban its sale. These plans will put the UK front and centre of global efforts to end the insidious trade in ivory.”

In line with the approach taken by other countries, the Government is proposing certain narrowly-defined and carefully-targeted exemptions for items which do not contribute to the poaching of elephants and where a ban would be unwarranted.

Meanwhile, the consultation proposes four categories of exemptions: musical instruments; items containing only a small proportion of ivory, a de minimis exemption; items of significant historic, artistic or cultural value and sales to and between museums.

The Government will work with conservationists, the arts and antiques sectors and other interested parties through the consultation period on exactly how these exemptions can be defined, implemented and enforced so as to ensure there is no room for loopholes which continue to fuel the poaching of elephants.


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