UK Ivory Trade
I have been contacted by many constituents about the UK ivory trade.
I share the concerns that have been raised about the effect of illegal poaching and ivory trafficking on the long-term prospects for the survival of the elephant, and the Conservative Party committed in its manifesto in 2015 to press for a total ban on ivory sales.
Just how seriously the Government takes this issue was demonstrated when it held the London Conference on Wildlife Trafficking. Over 40 countries adopted the London Declaration in an effort to save iconic species, including elephants, from being poached to the brink of extinction. The Buckingham Palace Declaration followed, with a range of commitments to help the private sector tackle this illegal trade.
The UK made available £13 million for various projects through the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund, and is now doubling that funding. It is also training rangers in Gabon, home of Africa's largest population of forest elephants, to combat poaching.
UK law does not permit trade in raw ivory tusks of any age, and Ministers are pressing for this approach to be taken internationally. The Government has announced plans to ban sales of modern-day ivory and will launch a consultation soon. This will put the UK's rules on ivory sales among the toughest in the world. It is an important step as we press for a complete ban and I am delighted that the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has adopted a proposal calling for the closure of all domestic ivory markets.
Ministers also recognise the growing threats to the Asian elephant from the illegal trade in live animals, fed by demand from the tourist and entertainment industries. The UK has been working through CITES to increase protections worldwide.
Parliament debated the e-petition on the UK ivory trade on 6 February and you can read the proceedings in full here: https://goo.gl/uwYpQR