Tusk welcomes today’s announcement by Environment Secretary Michael Gove of the UK Government’s plans to ban sales of ivory of all ages, and the launch of a public consultation to finalise the details.
The level of public support for closing down the UK ivory market will be very important, and we therefore urge you to respond to the consultation. You can find all the information you will need at banukivorysales.co.uk, which represents the views of Tusk and other members of a coalition* that has been working together on this issue.
The UK ivory market contributes to the international illegal ivory trade. Thousands of pieces of ivory are still traded in the UK each year. During the colonial era, more than a million elephants were killed to feed British demand for everything from ivory ornaments and piano keys to billiard balls and cutlery. Today, trade data indicates that the UK is the world’s largest exporter of ‘legal’ ivory – most of which goes to Asian destinations such as China and Hong Kong. Our markets fuel consumer demand for ivory that sees up to 20,000 African elephants killed by poachers every year. They must be closed down.
China and Hong Kong have embarked on the process of closing their commercial ivory markets. It is critical that the UK stops its commercial exports to those same markets so we do not undermine their efforts.
The announcement of the proposals and the associated consultation is a welcome step towards implementing the Government’s longstanding commitment to close the UK ivory market. This is in line with calls from African governments acting through the African Elephant Coalition and the UK-supported Elephant Protection Initiative, as well as the UK’s obligations under international conventions. Action at home is a crucial part of the UK’s contribution to the fight against poaching, the illegal ivory trade and the wider illegal wildlife trade.
Along with other NGOs, Tusk and our Royal Patron HRH The Duke of Cambridge have been campaigning to halt the illegal trade in ivory since the crisis first began. Today’s announcement comes just over one year after the Duke urged all governments to close their domestic ivory markets, including the UK, at Tusk’s Time For Change event at The View from The Shard, London.
Earlier this week, in a video message to the Tusk Conservation Awards in Cape Town, the Duke said: “I worry a great deal that our generation is not meeting our moral obligation to leave this planet in better shape than we inherited it. Our children and grandchildren will not thank us if we fail in our duty to reverse the decline in so many species.”
The announcement today shows that the Government recognises the need to take action, so we urge those who care about elephants to take part in the consultation.
Click here to read more on this story in The Telegraph.
* The members of the coalition are: Tusk, The Born Free Foundation, Environmental Investigation Agency, David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Natural Resources Defense Council, Stop Ivory, Wildlife Conservation Society, Zoological Society of London
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