The roadmap to close the UK domestic ivory market

“We must act and that means an ivory ban, as we Conservatives promised in our manifesto at the last election.”  

[Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, 24th September 2016, Global March for Elephants and Rhinos]

With Wildlife campaign image Elephant

In the 2010 and 2015 Conservative party manifestoes, the UK government committed to press for ‘a total ban’ on ivory sales in the UK.  This commitment is strongly supported by the British public as well as the international community. Approximately 120,000 African elephants have been illegally killed since the first manifesto commitment was made.

We are pleased that the Foreign Secretary recently reiterated the Government’s commitment to this pledge and pledged to increase restrictions on the sale of post 1947 ivory in the UK. That’s an important first step; however, the UK must commit to further action to fulfil this pledge. It is time to move to close the entire British ivory market because legal domestic markets provide cover for the trade in illegal ivory. Only by closing our domestic market will we truly contribute to international efforts to tackle the global trade in ivory and stop the slaughter of elephants.

November’s third  international conference on the illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam is another key moment, as is the forthcoming UK consultation process to establish the path to closing the British ivory market. We stand ready to work with the Government ahead of this conference and during the public consultation process to fulfil its objective to deliver ‘a total ban’ on ivory sales in the UK.

The two largest domestic ivory markets, the US and China, have already gone further than the current UK proposals. International pressure is building: in September votes at both the IUCN and CITES Conference of the Parties passed motions calling for the closure of domestic markets. The majority of African elephant range states have also made this commitment and it is now time the UK Government delivers on its promise.

The public supports further action: recent polling found that 85% of the British public support action to close the UK market. Now we must all work together to make it happen and deliver on our shared commitment to save these iconic creatures for future generations.

Signed by:

  • Zoological Society of London
  • Stop Ivory
  • Tusk
  • Environmental Investigation Agency
  • Wildlife Conservation Society
  • WildAid
  • Oak Foundation
  • Save the Elephants
  • Natural Resources Defense Council