Home News Anti-Poaching ‘Antique’ Ivory Investigation Strengthens Case For Trade Ban

‘Antique’ Ivory Investigation Strengthens Case For Trade Ban

The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation has renewed its call for the total ban on the sales of ivory, after a new investigation reiterated that ‘antique’ ivory legally on sale in Europe is often actually from recently poached elephants.

Researchers from the online campaigning community Avaaz bought 100 ivory products from antique dealers and private sellers across Europe. After carbon dating the items, 75% were found to be modern ivory. Ivory from an elephant killed by poachers as recently as 2010 was among the specimens tested.

Rob Hepworth, DSWF’s Senior Advisor for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), said: “The Avaaz report shows that EU governments are completely misguided in denying the links between the antique ivory exemption in Europe and the poaching of wild elephants. We need swift action to ensure the closure of the world’s last remaining, legalised ivory consumer market.”

Ivory dating from before 1947 is classed under EU laws as antique and can currently be legally traded. All the ivory pieces sampled by the researchers had been advertised as originating from before 1947 or had no date information.

The legal ivory market in the EU is mainly made up of small items, but added together, they could account for several tonnes of ivory sold every year.

It is shocking that Avaaz found that around a fifth of pieces that its researchers bought and tested in the UK were found to be breaking the law and were falsely marketed as being antique ivory.

“This should reinforce the views of those European Commission officials who want to move towards a total EU ivory sales ban. It also shows how right the UK government is to push through a near-total ban on ivory sales in the UK,” added Rob.

More than 50 elephants are still being killed every day for their ivory – much of it finding its way onto the Asian markets.

To learn more about our position on the ivory trade and to help DSWF fight wildlife crime and protect elephant populations click here.

elephant tusks, ivory
Photo: Andrew White
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