Britain could become first country in world to ban sale of ivory antiques


Sarah Knapton, The Telegraph

Date Published


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Britain could become first country in the world to ban sale of ivory antiques as MPs debate whether to further restrict items to prevent poaching.

In September, the government announced plans to prohibit the sale of ivory which is less than 70 years old, but stopped short of a total ban.

However campaigners say the change does not go far enough and claim poachers can easily get around the rules by making their products appear older, or forging certificates of authenticity.

On Monday parliament will debate the future of Britain’s domestic ivory market ahead of a public consultation on the government’s ‘70 year’ plan. The wildlife charity WWF is calling for the consultation to also include proposals for a total ban.

“It is time for the government to take all possible action to end the illegal global ivory trade,” said  Tanya Steele, CEO of WWF-UK.

“We urgently need the UK to take a stand for elephants, continue to demonstrate global leadership and implement a ban without delay.  

“Such a commitment will send a strong message that the UK refuses to play any part in the illegal ivory trade. “

WWF say closing the antique trade in ivory would set a precedent for other countries worldwide where demand for ivory strongly contributes to the ongoing elephant poaching crisis.

One third of the population of African elephants has been wiped out since 2007 and now only 350,000 remain in the wild, with an animal killed every 15 minutes on average.

The illegal wildlife trade is the fourth largest illegal trade behind drugs, human trafficking and counterfeiting, and is worth over an estimated £12 billion annually worldwide.

China, home to the world’s greatest legal and illegal ivory markets announced they will ban domestic trade by the end of 2017 and the US has introduced a near-total ban.