Twiggy and Julie Walters call on the public to surrender their ivory and protect elephants from being slaughtered for their tusks

Tuesday, 29 March, 2011
(London - 29 March 2011) – Celebrity animal lovers Twiggy and Julie Walters are backing the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) Ivory Surrender which launches tomorrow (Wed), encouraging the public to donate unwanted ivory to highlight the illegal ivory trade and protect elephants.

Twiggy said: "I'm proud to support IFAW's ivory surrender. Ivory trade kills and every piece of ivory represents a dead elephant. Please give up your ivory for elephants."

Julie Walters is also backing the campaign and said: "It is sad to know that elephants are still being killed for ivory in this, the 21st Century. I am supporting IFAW's ivory surrender and encouraging people to give up their ivory to help protect elephants."

Shockingly, new Ipsos MORI polling shows that more than four in 10 British adults are unaware that elephants have to die before their ivory can be obtained, while almost four million British residents are owners of ivory. 

Robbie Marsland, Director of IFAW UK, said: "We are holding a UK-wide ivory surrender to help raise awareness of the threats facing elephants and to encourage the UK Government to push its pledge to press for a ban on ivory sales internationally. By donating ivory items, people can be sure this ivory will not end up on the market again or have a commercial value, thereby making a positive contribution to elephant protection." 

The global illegal trade in wildlife is estimated to be worth £12 billion annually, second only to the illicit trade in drugs and arms. Ivory forms a significant part of this and seizures of illegal ivory are skyrocketing following recent stockpile sales to Japan and China which sent a signal to poachers that it is open season on elephants. 

IFAW's ivory surrender is being supported by police forces across the country as well as the National Wildlife Crime Unit and the Association of Chief Police Officers, who are battling to tackle the illegal ivory trade. 

Sergeant Ian Knox, Head of the Metropolitan Police's Wildlife Crime Unit, said: "The Metropolitan Police Force welcomes IFAW's Ivory Surrender as it highlights the existence of a damaging and illegal trade. There is still a huge demand for ivory that the illegal trade seeks to satisfy; a significant amount is generated in London and the UK. It must be stopped." 

Anyone who would like to donate ivory to the surrender can email or call 020 7587 6709.

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