Don’t let Australia lag behind in the global movement to save elephants from slaughter

International will to close domestic ivory markets is gaining momentum. Almost a year since 152 Governments (including Australia) adopted a decision by consensus at the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) to close domestic ivory markets where commercial trade is contributing to the illegal poaching of elephants in Africa, major domestic markets for ivory including the USA, France and even China have enacted bans, while other regions including the UK and Hong Kong are currently looking into taking action. Yet Australia remains silent.

IFAW has written to the Minister for Environment, Josh Frydenberg on a number of occasions, calling on the Australian Government to answer the call of the African elephant range states and close our domestic ivory market as we continue to build a case to show that by not taking action Australia is contributing to the global crisis. 

In the lead up to the CITES CoP17 meeting, IFAW released our report “Under the Hammer” which showed there is a domestic commercial market here in Australia for ivory and rhino horn items. We have been working directly with auction houses and antiques dealers here in Australia to tighten their own policies for trading in these items, and asking them to remove items they are selling.  

We continue to provide the Department of Environment and Energy with evidence of breaches against Australia’s current Environment laws in regards to the commercial sale, import and export of ivory items through "bricks and mortar" stores and online retailers. We are gaining support from Federal MPs from all sides of Parliament who agree that it is time for Australia to take action on this issue – thanks no doubt to thousands of our amazing supporters who continue to send letters to Federal MPs on this issue!  It’s time for Australia to take action! 

A recent opinion poll organised by IFAW found that nine in ten voters who understood the role in poaching as the principle source of ivory already believe that it is illegal to buy and sell ivory in Australia. What’s more, the overwhelming majority of Australians (86 percent) are simply not interested in buying antique ivory, while 76 percent of voters saying that they would support the Federal Government banning the domestic trade of all ivory items.  

On a global scale Australia is not a major market for ivory like China or the UK. However our ongoing work continues to flag that there is a commercial domestic market for elephant ivory and rhino horn. This market is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, yet there is currently little regulation or enforcement of the sale of these items occurring. Because of this lack of regulation, the sale of ivory and rhino horn in Australia will continue to undermine international efforts to stymie the supply and demand chain and prevent the illegal killing of thousands of endangered elephants and rhinos annually.   

We’ve asked before, and we will continue to ask you for your help to encourage the Australian Government and your local Federal Parliament representative to take a stand and support the efforts of the international community to shut down all avenues that allow this commercial trade to continue.

If the world’s largest market for ivory can be closed and the majority of the Australian public want action domestically, then why is the Federal Government stalling?

-- RK 

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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Beth Allgood, Country Director, United States
Country Director, United States
Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Jason Bell, Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Jimmiel Mandima at IFAW
Deputy Vice President of Conservation
Executive Vice President
Executive Vice President
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation
Rikkert Reijnen, Program Director, Wildlife Crime
Program Director, Wildlife Crime