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Published: Wed, April 04, 2018
Medical | By Garry George

Britain To Impose One Of The World's Toughest Ivory Bans

Britain To Impose One Of The World's Toughest Ivory Bans

Britain will ban the sale of ivory items regardless of their age in an effort to restrict the illegal ivory trade, tackle poaching and help protect elephants, the government said on Tuesday.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the new measures would make sure ivory would never again "be seen as a commodity for financial gain or as a status symbol".

Those caught breaching the ban face a maximum penalty of an unlimited fine or up to five years in jail.

The UK is set to introduce one of the "toughest" ivory bans in the world in a bid to protect elephants for future generations, the Environment Secretary has said.

Global commercial trade in ivory has been illegal since 1990 and the sale of raw African Elephant ivory of any age is not authorised in Britain.

WWF chief executive Tanya Steele said the ban makes the United Kingdom a "global leader in tackling this bloody trade" and called for "global action" to stop the poaching of the "majestic" elephant.

BAMF is also questioning the inconsistency between a 20% ivory rule for musical instruments and a 10% rule for other objects.

A study last summer of records under the convention on global trade in endangered species (Cites ) suggested that between 2010 and 2015 Britain was the largest exporter of legal ivory in the world. Such items must be at least 100 years old and their rarity and importance will be assessed by specialist institutions such as the UK's most prestigious museums before exemption permits are issued. This follows the ground breaking London 2014 conference on the illegal wildlife trade, and subsequent conferences in Botswana and Vietnam.

The new law will ban the trade in most ivory objects of any age.

Meanwhile, the United States has a ban that allows for the trade in ivory items over 100 years old, as well as those which are less than half ivory, while China allows for the trade in anything they describe as a "relic", though they do not define the term. China permits trade in "relics" without a specified age, and the U.S. exempts objects over a century old, as well as those with less than 50% ivory. China has always been one of the world's biggest markets for ivory, but as of 2018 all trade in ivory and ivory products in the country is illegal. "Thanks to this move, in a few years' time we believe the same will be true for the trade in ivory".

This is a significant day for the future of elephants. Indeed, 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.

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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