Ivory sales ban launched in United Kingdom by Environment Secretary Michael Gove

The Duke of Cambridge meets a rescued elephant in China

The Government announced that they are to bring in some of the most comprehensive ivory trade regulations to be found anywhere in the world to limit the sale of the material, which is predominantly harvested from elephants.

Michael Gove said the measures would be brought into force through primary legislation and will cover ivory items of all ages, not just those produced after a certain date.

Stephen Metcalfe, Member of Parliament for South Basildon and East Thurrock, welcomed today's announcement from Environment Secretary Michael Gove that the United Kingdom will introduce a ban on ivory sales.

The policy change was formulated in consultation with at least 70,000 contributors, of which 88 percent responded in support of a total ivory ban.

The UK is set to introduce one of the "toughest" ivory bans in the world in a bid to protect elephants for future generations, the Environment Secretary has said.

Those caught breaching the ban face a maximum penalty of an unlimited fine or up to five years in jail.

"The number of wild elephants has dropped by nearly a third in the last decade alone and around 20,000 are still being slaughtered for their tusks each year", says The Independent.

Defra said the ban would build on existing Government work to tackle poaching and the illegal ivory trade. China permits trade in "relics" without a specified age, and the United States exempts objects over a century old, as well as those with less than 50% ivory.

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The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said around 55 African elephants were killed for their ivory a day, with their tusks turned into carvings and trinkets.

Rare antiquities older than 100 years.

The new law will ban the trade in most ivory objects of any age. The U.K. has allowed ivory products crafted before 1947 to change hands freely, along with some items made afterward that have government permits.

The UK is already showing global leadership in the worldwide fight against the illegal ivory trade, and at a recent European Environment Council called for EU member states to follow the Government's lead and ban commercial trade in raw ivory - which is already banned in the UK - within the EU as soon as possible. "But if we want to stop the poaching of this majestic animal, we need global action". China has always been one of the world's biggest markets for ivory, but as of 2018 all trade in ivory and ivory products in the country is illegal.

"To save elephants, we must stop the killing on the ground, and stop the trafficking of and demand for ivory".

Britain said the worldwide illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth up to €19.5bn.

The UK proposal is the latest move in the global fight against the ivory trade.

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