Tragically more than 20,000 elephants are killed in Africa every year. If the desire for ivory is left unchecked it will mean the extinction of this iconic species in the wild within a lifetime.

Sadly there is still a legal market for the sale of ivory in the UK. The current law says it is legal to sell carved or worked antique ivory (defined as ivory from elephants killed before 1947). Unfortunately this legal ivory market can provide a cover for the sale of illegal, modern ivory. Police and UK Border Force have seized ivory which has been stained to fake the appearance of antique ivory. This illegal trade is worth thousands to criminals every year. So long as the antique ivory loophole exists criminals will use it to launder ivory from elephants being killed today.

The IFAW Asia team has also previously noted that antique ivory items sold by the UK and the rest of Europe have helped both to fuel demand for ivory in China. Although the Chinese Government have announced plans to ban their domestic ivory trade by the end of 2017, the continued supply of antique ivory from countries such as the UK will undoubtedly encourage the demand for ivory across Asia. This unfortunately means there will continue to be a perfect market in which criminals can sell modern, poached ivory.

Support for a domestic ivory market is waning. Our latest YouGov polling shows 95% of the British public are not interested in buying antique ivory and a public petition on the Government’s e-petition website gathered over 100,000 signatures earlier this year.

IFAW are campaigning for a ban on the sale of ivory in the UK.

Our teams in Africa have seen firsthand the devastation poaching has on Africa’s elephants. They are working with anti-poaching efforts on the ground, to make a difference at the source of the ivory trade. Our Asia team has raised public awareness and support which has led to the announcement of a Chinese ivory ban.

It’s now up to us to support all this good work, by stopping the domestic market in the UK too.

In the UK we regularly meet with MPs and Ministers to promote our calls for a ban. We work with other groups to ensure our calls are achievable and supported by a wide range of people and we also conduct research into the scale of the problem in the UK. This year we are also running our third ivory surrender, and hopefully our biggest yet, asking the public to send us their unwanted ivory items so we can use them to educate others or simply destroy them.

But we need your help. Please support the campaign by taking our latest action!

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