With MPs due to debate the closure of the UK’s domestic ivory market today, ZSL joins NGO partners in urging Westminster to reflect growing public demand for positive action.
“We welcome this important debate in the House of Commons. More than 100,000 people have used this petition to support the closure of the UK’s domestic ivory market, and it is time the Government listened to them. We encourage MPs to use this opportunity to speak out on this issue and urge the Government to close the UK's domestic ivory market.
The global ivory trade threatens the existence of elephants in the wild. Approximately 20,000 elephants are killed by poachers every year and there are estimated to be just 415,000 remaining. The rate of poaching continues to be far too high to be sustainable, and it is likely that more elephants are being killed each year than are being born.
The plain fact is that the UK's ivory market provides an environment in which an illegal ivory market can hide and flourish. By allowing the sale of legal ivory products, the UK’s market is used by criminals to launder illegal ivory. In addition, much of the UK’s ivory is exported to East Asian markets in Hong Kong and China, fuelling consumer demand for ivory and therefore the poaching of elephants.
Other countries have recognised the need to shut domestic markets; most recently China and Hong Kong confirmed their plans to close their own ivory markets. The Government should take note of this global momentum and step up to its obligations. Disappointingly, the Government’s current proposal to limit post-1947 ivory sales does not go far enough. It is crucial it uses the forthcoming consultation process to solve this problem once and for all by closing the market entirely.”
Paul De Ornellas, ZSL's illegal wildlife trade specialist.