Today, we and our nine campaign partners are delighted to see the UK Government’s Ivory Bill receive Royal Assent to become law.
In future, most ivory sales in, to and from the UK will be treated as criminal offences.
Mary Rice, our Executive Director, said: “Following on the heels of China’s closure of its own domestic ivory market at the start of the year, this is the best Christmas present the UK could have given the world’s threatened elephant populations in Africa and Asia.
“The Ivory Bill becoming law is an important move which recognises the need to take firm action to protect elephant populations from poaching and ivory trafficking. After years of sustained campaigning, we welcome the news and hope that countries which still have legal domestic ivory markets will see this as the standard to aspire to.”
In January 2016, we led 26 organisations to petition the UK Government to close its domestic ivory market.
And our ground-breaking 2017 trade study revealed the UK to be the biggest legal importer of ivory in the world and the largest exporter of legal ivory to the trafficking hotspots of Hong Kong and China – between 2010-15, the UK exported more legal ivory than any other country, underlining the significant role it plays in the international ivory trade.
The Government’s subsequent public consultation on a proposed ivory ban resulted in one of the largest-ever responses. More than 70,000 people and organisations participated, with more than 88 per cent in favour of a ban.
The UK’s new Ivory Act is one of the strongest ivory bans in the world and covers the vast majority of items in trade, subject to certain narrow exemptions.
Rice added: “Now that the legislation is in place, we strongly urge the UK Government to provide the necessary resources for its proper implementation and enforcement and, further, we urge the European Union and Japan – two of the biggest remaining legal markets for ivory – to put their own houses in order and outlaw all domestic ivory sales.”