UK to introduce ‘tough’ ban on ivory sales to protect elephants

The UK will introduce one of the world’s strictest bans on ivory sales in a bid to protect elephants, the government has announced

The trade of items made from ivory will be outlawed in the UK under a new ban which the government say will be the toughest in Europe and among the most stringent in the world.

It will cover items of any age, not just those containing new ivory. Under plans announced by the environment secretary, Michael Gove, anyone who continues to illegally trade ivory will face an unlimited fine or a jail sentence of up to five years. Gove described the trade in ivory products as “abhorrent”.

Exemptions will include items made before 1947 that are less than 10 per cent ivory, and musical instruments with an ivory content of less than 20 per cent that were made before 1975.

The WWF estimates that an average of 55 African elephants are killed every day for their ivory tusks.

This ban makes the UK a global leader in tackling this bloody trade

Tanya Steele chief executive at WWF said: “This ban makes the UK a global leader in tackling this bloody trade. But if we want to stop the poaching of this majestic animal, we need global action. We hope the UK will continue to press countries where the biggest ivory markets are, most of which are in Asia, to shut down their trade too.”

Steele said she would like to see “key Asian countries” including Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos, take action to close legal and illegal ivory markets.

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