UK ivory surrender launched to protect elephants

UK ivory surrender launched to protect elephants
Wednesday, 19 July, 2017
London

Members of the public keen to help protect elephants from further slaughter for the illegal ivory trade are being invited to surrender their own ivory which will be destroyed as part of a campaign to close the UK’s ivory market and save this iconic species from the threat of extinction.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), which has run previous successful public ivory surrenders in the UK, believes it is vital now more than ever before that the British public stand up for elephants by helping to end consumer demand for ivory products and keep up the pressure for a domestic ban on the ivory trade.

New polling commissioned by IFAW reveals that the vast majority of the UK public want to protect elephants with a UK trade ban and do not wish to purchase ivory themselves. An overwhelming 95% of respondents polled by YouGov stated that they would not be interested in purchasing antique ivory*. A YouGov survey of MPs also found 97% of MPs to be supportive of either a total ivory ban or a ban with some exemptions**.

With elephant populations at an all-time low and the species facing extinction due to the ivory poaching crisis which is killing at least 20,000 elephants each year, IFAW believes the time is right for the British public, and our Government, to act now to close the UK ivory market. Philip Mansbridge, UK Director of IFAW, said: “Time really is running out for elephants and if we do not act now it will be too late. Historically ivory has been seen by many as a status symbol and something to value, but the reality is that a piece of ivory represents a dead elephant, cruelly shot or poisoned for its tusks. At IFAW, we have been contacted more and more over the years by members of the public who agree with us that ivory should only be valued where it belongs, on a live, wild elephant.

“Many people in the UK have bought or inherited ivory tusks, carvings or trinkets that they do not want now they understand that an elephant has died for this. We are encouraging people to surrender their unwanted ivory, whether legal or illegal, so we can ensure it is put beyond use, and so that it will not resurface on the market or help fuel further illegal poaching of elephants to satisfy consumer demand.”

The legal ivory trade often provides a smokescreen for more illegal killing of elephants and by donating unwanted ivory, IFAW believes members of the public can make a positive contribution to elephant protection. A small number of ivory items will be retained for education and publicity purposes while other donations will be immediately transferred to a secret and secure location and ultimately destroyed by the appropriate Government agency.

In 2014, IFAW staged an ivory destruction event in central London ahead of a major international summit on wildlife trade. The event involved dozens of pieces of surrendered ivory being put beyond use.

IFAW continues to call on the UK Government to ban ivory sales in the UK as a priority.

Mansbridge added: “We have recently seen strong moves from China and the US to tackle their own domestic ivory markets which is to be welcomed. As a nation of animal lovers in the UK, and with the UK playing such a significant role historically in the ivory trade, it is time for us to also take a stand by saying ivory belongs to elephants and no-one else. We can see there is strong political will in the UK to make this happen, and we need action to stop the ivory trade now.”

Anyone wishing to donate ivory items is asked to post them to: Campaigns Department, International Fund for Animal Welfare, 87-90 Albert Embankment, London, SE1 7UD. For queries or large items, email info-uk@ifaw.org or call 020 7587 6700.

Ends

For more information or to arrange interviews please contact Clare Sterling at IFAW on mobile +44 (0)7917 507717 or email csterling@ifaw.org

Alternatively visit www.ifaw.org

Technical note

* All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,201 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12 and 13 April 2017. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

** Exemptions include for museums, antique miniature paintings, musical instruments and items of significant historical importance. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 97 MPs. Fieldwork was undertaken between 20/06/17 and 07/07/17. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of the House of Commons.

Full polling results available on request.

About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)

Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

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