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UK Government Wants To Extend The Ivory Ban To Hippos And Other Species

UK Government Wants To Extend The Ivory Ban To Hippos And Other Species

by Agi Kaja

Hippos, killer whales, walruses, sperm whales and narwhals may receive greater legal protection in the UK as the government looks to extend the ban on ivory poaching.

Until now, the Ivory Act considered only elephants as they are commonly targeted for their tusks. The savanna elephant populations declined by about 30 per cent - equal to 144,000 elephants - across 15 African countries between 2007 and 2014.

Currently, the law, which hasn't come into effect yet, covers the import, export and trading of products containing elephant ivory.

New plans consider broadening the act to cover more ivory-bearing animals as the elephants are not the only species at risk. Hippos also face threats from poaching. Whales are hunted for their teeth and narwhals and walruses for their tusks. The arctic species also suffer due to climate change as the loss of biodiversity in the oceans makes it hard for them to survive. It's hard to estimate the global population of narwhals but it is thought that are only 75,000 alive in the wild.

The proposed protections opened for public consultation last week and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has asked members of the public to share their views.

The environment minister Zac Goldsmith said: "The Ivory Act is one of the toughest bans of its kind in the world and sends a clear message that we are doing all that we can to save elephants from the threat of extinction. However the ivory trade is a conservation threat for other magnificent species such as the hippo, narwhal and walrus that are at threat.

"So I urge everyone to share their views to help ensure we can protect more animals from the grim ivory trade."

Dr Mark Jones, head of policy at the Born Free Foundation, said: "Closing down elephant ivory markets is an essential step towards securing a future for elephants. 

"However, by focusing only on the trade in elephant ivory, other ivory-bearing species could suffer as ivory traders and consumers turn to alternatives.

"By taking this step, the UK can send a clear signal to the rest of the world that killing animals to carve ornaments from their teeth is not acceptable in the 21st century."

The prime minister, Boris Johnson, has already announced that funding to tackle the illegal wildlife trade would be scaled up as part of the UK’s £220m international biodiversity fund.

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Agi Kaja

Agi Kaja

News Editor Focused On Conscious Consumerism. Vegan Business Promoter. Animal Advocate. Environmentalist.

Breaking the news on plant-based food innovation, new vegan products, sustainability, animal welfare, environment, science, society and conscious shopping.

Contact: [email protected]

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