This last Friday, Britain announced its plans for a near-total ban on the trading and selling of ivory of all ages. This ban includes antique ivory, which had been excluded from previous ban laws.
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Over recent years, the UK has been a leading exporter of legal ivory carvings and antiques which, in turn, has contributed to a demand for products that can be linked to an increase in elephant poaching across Africa. This has led to a sharp decline in elephant populations. WWF says more than 20,000 African elephants die every year to feed the ivory trade.
“Ivory should never be seen as a commodity for financial gain or a status symbol — so we want to ban its sale,” Environment Secretary Michael Gove said in a statement. “These plans will put the UK front and center of global efforts to end the insidious trade in ivory.”
This is a ‘near-total ban’ because the country plans to still allow antique ivory to be sold if the items are deemed to have “significant historic, artistic or cultural value.”
The US currently has a ban on ivory trade, but unlike the UK’s new antique ivory ban promise, the US still allows ivory items produced prior to 1947 to be sold.
China, the largest consumer market for illegal ivory, has also promised to ban all ivory trade and processing by the end of the year.