According to campaigners, the UK and in particular, the Conservative government is putting elephants at risk by breaking promises on the ivory trade. Apparently, no action has been taken by the Conservative party who promised to stamp out the UK’s domestic ivory market – which if it is true IS OUTRAGEOUS!! Especially given that Prince William and William Hague are fully behind the campaign as even I witnessed after a new trade agreement was signed at Buckingham Palace, which I wrote about here. But the campaigners from Avaaz seem to be suggesting that it is the government in particular who have not taken the appropriate steps to back this up and this is truly awful if it is the case. According to the report I read in The Guardian, the Conservatives committed to close down the trade in ivory in 2010 and 2015, but between 2009 and 2014 40% of all customs seizures in the UK were ivory. They found 110kg of ivory last year at Heathrow – which is the equivalent of about four tusks in total – but they will be tiny trinkets taken from many different elephants so how many elephants were destroyed to get to that number of antiques?
At next month’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in Johannesburg there is a petition containing 1.6m signatures calling for the world’s domestic ivory markets to be closed down for good, that activists hope will put pressure on politicians, wildlife experts and conservation groups. The UK is apparently really lagging behind which is completely unacceptable and a total ban is urgently needed in order to save the elephants before it is too late.
COME ON UK AND THE CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT – I am really shocked to read that we are failing to step up.
The World Wildlife response to TRAFFIC report “A Rapid Survey of UK Ivory Markets” found a wide range of ivory items offered for sale in the UK. In reaction to the TRAFFIC report A Rapid Survey of UK Ivory Markets, Heather Sohl, Chief Adviser on Wildlife at WWF-UK said:
“WWF welcomes this report, which provides a useful overview of ivory trade in the UK and its role internationally. It is most worrying that the survey found mixed understanding amongst traders of what constitutes legal ivory trade. It demonstrates the real need for the UK government to urgently provide greater clarity and guidance for traders on what is and is not legal when it comes to ivory trade, including where the issuance of certificates is required. We also urge for discrepancies between importers’ and exporters’ reports on how much raw ivory is traded from the UK to be investigated and resolved” – although I am surprised that any ivory being imported to the UK is considered “legal” these days?
“The illegal ivory trade is an international problem and it urgently needs global implementation of the right solutions. An estimated 30,000 African elephants are being killed by poachers for their ivory every year, a shockingly high figure that threatens the survival of Central Africa’s forest elephants as well as some elephant populations in East Africa.
“Ivory trade will be a hot topic of discussion at CITES CoP17 starting next month and we need the international community to have a constructive debate on addressing issues that will help tackle poaching and illegal ivory trade, including stronger laws, measures to counter corruption, and more vigilance at key ports, such as Mombasa and Zanzibar, from which ivory continues to be smuggled out of Africa. Critically, we also need global efforts towards significantly reducing the demand that drives the illegal ivory trade. We call on the international community to use CITES CoP17 to reach agreement on these issues so we can make progress before it is too late.”