UK Government Unveils One Of 'World's Toughest' Bans On Ivory Sales

A wildlife ranger stands guard as tusks seized from poachers are burnt in Kenya. About 20,000 elephants a year are killed

A wildlife ranger stands guard as tusks seized from poachers are burnt in Kenya. About 20,000 elephants a year are killedEPA

The prohibition will introduce tighter legislation covering ivory items of all ages, save for a few limited exceptions, the government said.

Britain is set to introduce "one of the world's toughest" bans on ivory sales in a bid to protect elephants for future generations, the country's Environment Secretary announced Tuesday.

It comes after a public consultation on the issue, in which 88% of the 70,000 responses backed a ban. A spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it would be done "when parliamentary time allows". A YouGov survey of MPs also found 97% of MPs to be supportive of either a total ivory ban or a ban with some exemptions**.

The ban will contain exemptions to allow the sale of certain items which contain ivory but have been deemed not to contribute.

The ban is more all-encompassing than the United States' ban, which exempts ivory objects over 100 years old as well as those with less than 50 percent ivory.

Polling released by IFAW past year revealed that the vast majority of the United Kingdom public want to protect elephants with a United Kingdom trade ban and do not wish to purchase ivory themselves.

Gove said: "The ban on ivory sales we will bring into law will reaffirm the UK's global leadership on this critical issue, demonstrating our belief that the abhorrent ivory trade should become a thing of the past".

China enacted its own ban on the sale of ivory products at the start of the year, but it exempts ivory "relics", according to the British government. This follows the London 2014 conference on the illegal wildlife trade, and subsequent conferences in Botswana and Vietnam.

The U.S. announced its own sweeping ban on the commercial trade of ivory in 2016, but it was partially lifted last month by the Trump administration after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service opened the door to some trophy hunters hoping to import the tusks of animals they kill overseas.

Conservation groups have lobbied for years for a tougher ban because they say that the trade in antiques provides a cover for illegal sales of modern...

Around 55 African elephants are killed for their ivory a day, their tusks turned into carvings and trinkets.

"If we want to stop the poaching of this majestic animal, we need global action", she added.

Legal domestic ivory markets are intrinsically linked to the illegal ivory trade that is driving the current poaching crisis. The UK government has taken a momentous step.

"It has always been acknowledged that the legal ivory trade often provides a smokescreen for more illegal killing of elephants". The exhibition was organized by Operation Charm, a Metropolitan Police partnership aimed at tackling the illegal trade in endangered wildlife.

The further decline of elephants would also deprive some of the poorest countries in the world of their valuable natural capital, affecting economic growth and sustainable development.

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