DSWF welcomes announcement on the UK’s plans to ban the sale of all ages of ivory

As a group of NGOs working to halt the devastating decline in elephant populations caused by poaching for the illegal ivory trade*, we welcome the announcement by Environment Secretary Michael Gove of the UK Government’s plans to ban sales of ivory of all ages.

The UK ivory market contributes to the international illegal ivory trade. Thousands of pieces of ivory are still traded in the UK each year. During the colonial era, more than a million elephants were killed to feed British demand for everything from ivory ornaments and piano keys to billiard balls and cutlery. Today, trade data indicates that the UK is the world’s largest exporter of ‘legal’ ivory – most of which goes to Asian destinations such as China and Hong Kong. Our markets fuel consumer demand for ivory that sees up to 20,000 African elephants killed by poachers every year. They must be closed down.

Karen Botha, DSWF CEO commented, “ It is good news for elephants that there is a proposal on the table from the British government to close its ivory market at long last. The priority now is for Ministers to implement the tightest possible ban on ivory commerce in UK. The Government should resist any attempt to water down its proposals which DSWF members and the vast majority of the public will support. British commercial interests have benefited hugely from the ivory trade  for over 200  years. Now is the time to put elephants and not ivory traders first”

The level of public support for closing down the market will be very important when the Government considers the responses to the consultation. The announcement today shows that the Government recognises the need to take action, so we urge those who care about elephants to take part in the consultation, make their views known and help the Government to do the right thing.

*The Group of NGO’s consists of : David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, The Born Free Foundation, Environmental Investigation Agency, , International Fund for Animal Welfare, Natural Resources Defense Council, Stop Ivory, Tusk Trust, Wildlife Conservation Society, Zoological Society of London