Trade Me has announced they will ban the sale of ivory and other animal parts of endangered species including rhinoceros, tigers, lion, leopards, jaguar, cheetah, elephants, gorilla, chimpanzee, red panda, dugong and manatees.
The ban will come into effect on September 17. It will become a breach of Trade Me’s terms and conditions for selling any item made of or containing ivory, regardless of age or size. There are only two exceptions – pianos with ivory keys manufactured before 1975 and bag pipes with ivory parts manufactured before 1975.
Earlier this year, Trade Me was urged to ban the sale of all endangered animal products by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
IFAW’s “Click to Delete” survey found 20 products were advertised on Trade Me that were banned from international trade, including 17 ivory figures, jewellery, a tiger claw and marine turtle shells.
SPCA Auckland executive director Bob Kerridge said: “Trade Me’s decision to ban the sale of ivory is an excellent ethical choice. Allowing the sale of ivory is out of step with international trade and this ban is exactly the sort of action needed globally to help save the elephant from extinction.”
Trade Me said that the ban “feels like the right thing to do” and that the company consulted experts including advocacy groups and the Department of Conservation in making their decision.
The company also read the recent decision of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee that recommended a resumption of the 1989 international ivory trade ban.
The select committee decision was the result of a petition led by Auckland school teacher Virginia Woolf, which called for a complete ivory trade ban in New Zealand.
Ms Woolf said she was “greatly heartened” by Trade Me’s decision, and that she was “encouraged that they are acting responsibly and helping to close the loopholes in New Zealand’s domestic ivory trade”.
These sentiments were echoed by Sir Stephen Tindall, who along with Mr Kerridge had signed an open letter to the government calling for an ivory trading ban.
“Trade Me should be commended for its decision to ban ivory sales,” he said. “They are setting an excellent precedent for other New Zealand trading houses to follow suit.”
Other agencies allowing ivory trading in New Zealand include antique shops and auction houses. Webb’s Auction House reported in 2012 that the market for ivory continued to boom, with competition driving prices well in excess of estimates. Webb’s Auction House’s top 10 highlights for 2013 included a pair of nineteenth century rhinoceros horns, sold for $797,300, a single rhinoceros horn, which achieved $86,770, and a rhino horn walking stick, which sold for $19,930.
Webb’s Auction House noted that the rhinoceros horn artifacts are highly sought-after by the domestic Chinese market and that the interior decorative arts department has seen a considerable rise in new patronage from local Chinese collectors.