‘Hundreds’ of ivory items remain on sale in UK despite near total ban –
Josie Clarke, Yahoo Finance
September 21, 2022
Hundreds of ivory items remain on sale in the UK despite a near total ban
on its trade having been in effect for months, a charity has found.
The import, export and dealing of elephant ivory items of all ages – not
only those produced after a certain date – became illegal in June, unless
they have been registered or have an exemption certificate.
Wildlife charity Born Free said it had identified hundreds of ivory items
still being sold online, as well as an increase in the sale of ivory from
hippos and other threatened species not protected by the new legislation.
In a single month, researchers discovered more than 600 ivory listings with
a total guide price of £1.2 million on just three online sales sites.
While the figures suggested the new Ivory Act had successfully reduced the
volume of elephant ivory being traded online, almost half of the listings
were thought to be illegal.
Researchers also found significantly more items – 353 compared with 277
before the ban – were now being listed “covertly” as “bone”.
Born Free is calling on the Government to strengthen enforcement of the
Ivory Act to encourage greater compliance among traders.
It also wants hippo ivory, and ivory from other species such as warthog,
included within the Act to give the species the same protection as
Elephants are commonly targeted for their tusks and the demand for ivory is
known to contribute to poaching, driving a decline in populations.
The number of elephants free in the wild has declined by almost a third,
with the savanna elephant population plummeting by around 30% – equal to
144,000 elephants – across 15 African countries between 2007 and 2014.
It is estimated that around 20,000 elephants are also still being
slaughtered annually because of the global demand for ivory.
Frankie Osuch, Born Free’s policy support officer and author of the report,
said: “It’s encouraging to see that many sellers appear willing to comply
with the new Ivory Act as well-enforced ivory bans are crucial for
protecting wild elephants.
“However, it’s frustrating to see that some auction houses and private
dealers are instead choosing to find ways to evade detection on platforms
so that they can illegally continue selling ivory online.
“It’s crucial that both the Government and e-commerce websites take action
to ensure that any continuing ivory trade at least complies with the law.”
The Government launched a digital ivory service earlier this year, allowing
those who own ivory to register or apply for an exemption certificate.
People need to register or certify items only for the purposes of dealing
in exempt items containing ivory. Those who own but are not planning to
sell their ivory items do not need to register or certify them.
The Government is also considering extending the Ivory Act to other
ivory-bearing species and will publish the response to its consultation
later this year.