I am pleased to update all those concerned about the trade in ivory that the Government is proposing to introduce a total ban on UK sales of ivory that could contribute either directly or indirectly to the continued poaching of elephants. The ban would prohibit UK sales of ivory, and the import and export of ivory for sale to and from the UK, subject to carefully defined exemptions. This measure would not affect the right to own, gift, inherit or bequeath items containing ivory. 

The proposals will protect elephants and help combat poaching by removing opportunities for criminals to trade illegally-poached ivory. The plans will be subject to a 12 week consultation which closes on 29 December and will cover items of all ages, not only those created after a certain date.

In line with the approach taken by other countries, the Government is proposing certain narrowly-defined and carefully-targeted exemptions for items which do not contribute to the poaching of elephants and where a ban would be unwarranted.

The Government will work with conservationists, the arts and antiques sectors and other interested parties through the consultation period on exactly how these exemptions can be defined, implemented and enforced so as to ensure there is no room for loopholes which continue to fuel the poaching of elephants.

This new ban will build on government work both at home and overseas to tackle poaching and the illegal ivory trade. The UK military trains an elite force of anti-poachers in African countries, and Border Force officers share their expertise in identifying smuggled ivory with counterparts worldwide to stop wildlife trafficking.

In addition, in October 2018 the UK will host a fourth international conference on the illegal wildlife trade, bringing global leaders to London to tackle the strategic challenges of the trade. This follows the ground breaking London 2014 conference and subsequent conferences in Botswana and Vietnam.

You can respond to the consultation here: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/international/banning-uk-sales-of-ivory/