The UK government have just announced plans for a ban on the sale and export of ivory. The statement was made by Environmental Secretary Michael Gove, who said the consultation would ban most ivory items, with the exception of musical instruments and cultural items. All previous attempts for a full ivory ban have proposed an exclusion of ivory that was produced before 1947.
An Environmental Investigation Agency report claimed that over 36,000 items were exported from the UK between 2010 and 2015. These figures have contributed to fuelling the demand for elephant poaching in Africa.
The 12-week consultation of Gove’s proposal is due to start immediately, meaning that bans on ivory sales and exports should come into play at the beginning of next year, ahead of a major illegal wildlife conference. Gove said in a statement, “The decline in the elephant population fuelled by poaching for ivory shames our generation. The need for radical and robust action to protect one of the world’s most iconic and treasured species is beyond dispute.”
This ban could mean big changes for those in the antique business, and reports have claimed that many are not happy about the proposed ban. Noelle McElhatton, from the Antiques Trade Gazette, explained that although those working in the antique field are against poaching, they have argued that this ban on trade of items that were made before 1947 “will not save a single living elephant. We feel strongly that an outright ban would be an over-reaction and would be very detrimental to the honest and legitimate trade of pre-1947 ivory.”
The proposed consultation is scheduled to run until 29 December.
I am Jess Murray, wildlife conservationist, photographer and writer. I like to document the natural world and create awareness through my writing so that your future can be sustainable and positive. Follow my Facebook page and Instagram account to be part of the journey.