Hand in your ivory heirlooms, say Met as they start crack down on illegal trade (London)


Justin Davenport, London Evening Standard

Date Published
Scotland Yard is urging Londoners to hand in old souvenir collections of ivory and other endangered species to help stop the trade in elephant tusks.
A campaign – backed by comedian Ricky Gervais – is urging people to hand in family heirlooms or souvenirs such as rhino horn or furs to police stations so they can be destroyed.
Gervais, an active supporter of wildlife campaigns, said: “This is an opportunity for Londoners to show their support and to protect animals from the illegal wildlife trade by giving away any unwanted items made from endangered species such as elephants, tigers and rhinos.”
Earlier this year Prince William was compared to the Nazis and the Taliban over his calls for the destruction of the royal ivory collection.
The prince said he would like the Royal Family’s 1,200 ivory artefacts to be destroyed to reinforce the message that trade in the tusk material is immoral.
But some experts said the 200 year old collection should be left untouched to enable future generations learn about historic societies.
Detective Constable Sarah Bailey from the Met’s Wildlife Crime Unit, said: “We are asking the public to take any unwanted items they may have bought over the years to their local police station so they can be destroyed or used to educate people about the illegal trade in animal parts and its impact on species in the wild.
“By raising awareness and encouraging people to get behind this appeal we can potentially reduce the demand for these products.”