Australia takes one step closer to agreeing to protect elephants and shut down the domestic ivory trade

Australia takes one step closer to agreeing to protect elephants and shut down t
Friday, 21 September, 2018
Sydney, Australia

One of the toughest bans on the sale of ivory is a step closer to coming into force, after the Parliamentary inquiry into the domestic sale of ivory and rhino horn, today tabled recommendations in Parliament for Australia to implement a domestic ban.

This cross Party, Joint House inquiry initiated by Senator Lisa Singh and Chaired by Mr Craig Kelly MP, set about examining how Australia can keep pace with other OECD countries in closing the legal loopholes in domestic ivory markets to ensure Australia is not contributing to wildlife trafficking.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has been at the forefront calling on Australia to close its domestic ivory markets, having investigated online retailers, auction houses and antiques dealers; proving that an unregulated market exists here in Australia. Following a number of public hearings, attended by IFAW experts from the Australia, South Africa, China and UK, along with other NGOs and stakeholders, the inquiry heard evidence as to why the Australian Government must now take legislative steps to close our unregulated domestic ivory market.

Rebecca Keeble, Regional Director of IFAW Oceania said: “We very much welcome the speed with which the Joint Parliamentary inquiry has moved to hand down their recommendations. For nearly five years, we have been urging the federal government to implement a strong domestic ban; and for the past eight months, IFAW has been liaising with state and territory governments to also come on board. We know that there is an overwhelming political desire to shut down Australia’s domestic ivory market, and the recommendations by this Joint Parliamentary inquiry only further reinforces the fact that there is bipartisan support for such action. 

“IFAW calls on Minister Price to adopt the findings of the Joint Committee and implement the recommendations as soon as possible. Without the federal government’s support, these recommendations will be as useful for global elephant conservation as an ivory carving gathering dust on a shelf.” Concluded Ms Keeble.

In the past four years, over 35,800 IFAW supporters have contacted the government and MPs requesting such a ban, and IFAW would continue to urge everyone who wants to protect elephants and rhinoceros for generations to come as the sale of ivory anywhere, threatens elephants and rhinoceros everywhere. 

With one elephant being slaughtered for its tusks every 26 minutes and one rhinoceros being poached every seven hours for its horn, the Environment Minister, Melissa Price must act now and implement these recommendations, otherwise there is a real risk that elephants and rhinoceros will become extinct within two generations. Beyond its impact on elephants, the ivory trade is also tied to corruption, organised crime and the murder of wildlife rangers in Africa.

The Joint Parliamentary Committee recommendations covers all ivory items subject to some narrow, carefully-defined exemptions.

The upcoming International Wildlife Trade Conference in London in October provides the government with the perfect platform to announce its intention to the world to adopt a domestic ban and IFAW and its supporters encourage the Australian Government to grab hold of this global leadership opportunity without delay.


Notes to editors:

  • IFAW wildlife crime experts are available for interview
  • Information and submissions to the Joint Parliamentary Inquiry into the domestic sale of ivory and rhino horn available at
  • For more information or to arrange interviews please contact Rebekka Thompson-Jones on: +61 2 9288 4973 or +61 (0)401 090 034 or email


About IFAW

Founded in 1969, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is a global non-profit organisation that protects animals and the places they call home. With offices in 15 countries and projects in over 40, we rescue, rehabilitate and release animals into secure landscapes around the world. In collaboration with governments and local communities, our experienced campaigners, legal and political experts, and internationally acclaimed scientists pioneer lasting solutions to some of the most pressing animal welfare and wildlife conservation issues of our time.


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