Why extend the Ivory Act?
The import, export and trading in elephant ivory was banned in the UK last year (20222). But a loophole was highly criticised that encouraged other animals to be poached to ‘fill the gap’ created by the ban on elephant ivory – simply swapping the trade rather than eradicating it.
According to a European Commission Report, hippo teeth were among the mammal body parts most regularly seized in 2020.
Ivory is highly sort after, and extremely profitable. Ivory is used to craft a wide variety of items including ornaments, musical instruments and jewellery, as well as a ‘medicine’ in many cultures whereby the ivory is believed to have extensive and varied health benefits.
What’s being proposed?
New plans will cover more species, including hippos, killer whales, sperm whales, narwhals and walruses.
Under the updated Act, anyone found to be breaking the law can be given an unlimited fine, as well as a 5 year jail term.
What’s being said?
Biodiversity Minister Trudy Harrison said in a BBC article that ‘The Ivory Act is one of the toughest bans of its kind in the world, and by extending greater protections to five more species, we are sending a clear message the commercial trade of ivory is totally unacceptable.’
‘Today is a good day for conservation and a step change towards international commitments to safeguard our natural world.’ said a spokesperson from The International Fund for Animal Welfare.
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