Ivory Act 2018: UK Ivory Bill receives Royal Assent

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) welcomes today’s news that the Bill to ban ivory dealing in the UK has officially received Royal Assent and becomes the Ivory Act 2018. It is expected to come into force in mid-2019, which is a huge step towards reducing ivory trafficking around the world, as well as in Britain.

The news follows years of lobbying and campaigning by DSWF and conservation colleagues. The Foundation supported the Bill from the outset  and provided briefings to Members of Parliament and Peers at every key stage in its passage.

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’s CEO Karen Botha said: “DSWF has been actively campaigning for the closure of domestic ivory markets and for a total ban in the trade in ivory. So we are delighted by the enactment of the new UK law today. We are one step closer to our goal of attaining the toughest possible protection for elephants, in order to ensure the survival of one of the world’s most iconic species.

“However this historic news comes at a time when elephants are still being slaughtered in their tens of thousands each year across Africa. DSWF hope the example set by the UK Government sends a signal to other countries, notably the EU and Japan, of the need to urgently close their own domestic ivory markets.

DSWF strongly believes that when legal domestic ivory markets remain open, illegal markets thrive, adding to the pressure on wild populations across the continent, which risks driving this irreplaceable species towards extinction.”

The Ivory Act 2018 represents one of the strongest bans on ivory trading in the world. DSWF is urging the Government to act swiftly in implementing the new laws next year and to ensure enforcement agencies and relevant implementing partners are adequately supported and resourced. It will also be vital for devolved administrations to play their part in prohibiting sales everywhere in the UK.

DSWF is also calling on the Government to ensure the limited exemptions in the new law are kept to a minimum. They must also be fully and transparently monitored and policed.

The UK Government has taken a leading role in the fight against the Illegal Wildlife Trade, which is a global industry worth a staggering £15 billion. The Ivory Act 2018 follows one of the largest public consultations ever held in the UK and reflects the overwhelming view that ivory markets around the world need to be closed down permanently. This historic step bolsters the growing efforts by Governments, conservationists and concerned citizens around the world to help save elephants from extinction.