Why France’s domestic ivory ban following Kenya burn is timely, important

France can set an example in the EU with a near total ban on domestic trade of ivory.

The weekend of 1 May 2016 will go down in history as an important moment in the fight to save the remaining elephants on this planet.

Kenyan President, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta proceeded with the greatest ivory destruction ever undertaken, where a total of 105 tonnes (representing the death of at least 10 500 elephants) along with 1.36 tonnes of rhino horn were set ablaze in front of cameras from all around the world.

Ironically, while Kenya reminded the world of the importance of not giving any economic value to ivory by destroying it, in the South of France, an auction house attempted to profit from the sale of more than 100kg of ivory.

This otherwise overlooked news was made all the more fitting when French minister of the Environment, Energy and the Sea, Ségolène Royal, having been invited to assist at the Kenya event, seized the opportunity to announce internationally her decision to adopt a near total ban of ivory sales in France.

This huge step forward, for which the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has been battling incessantly over the last few years, is crucial as it will end auction house ivory sales as well as internet ivory sales. One year ago IFAW revealed the sheer size of the ivory market on French territory by showing that each month, almost one ton of ivory was put up for sale by auction houses, feeding a demand coming from all parts of the world and more specifically Asia.

This announcement is not just about France, however.

This decision proves that France can be a leader in the fight against the poaching and trafficking of elephants by setting an example to other European countries. The Minister has furthermore promised to push other members of the EU to adopt this same measure to ensure that they no longer contribute towards feeding this demand for ivory.

IFAW rejoices in this decision, but it goes without saying that we will now follow up on its strict implementation. It is about time that France distanced itself from this bloody trade.

--MC  

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