Victory! Narwhals, Orcas, Sperm Whales, Hippos, And Walruses Will Now Be Protected Under The Ivory Act In The UK

Hopeful news as five endangered CITES-listed species are set to receive greater legal protections under the Ivory Act 2018. Hippopotamuses, walruses, narwhals, orcas, and sperm whales will receive greater legal protections under the UK’s world-leading ban on importing, exporting, and dealing in items containing ivory. The move follows the country’s key animal welfare manifesto commitment.

Hippopotamus is the species most at risk from the trade in ivory following elephants. The other species are already threatened by climate change, and the continuing trade in their ivory may exacerbate these threats and make their long-term survival less likely.

Putting the UK at the forefront of global conservation efforts, the consultation response confirms plans to extend the Ivory Act 2018 to ban all trade in ivory from these species, including imports and exports.

The UK’s world-leading Ivory Act is one of the toughest bans on elephant ivory sales in the world, with some of the strongest enforcement measures. Those found guilty of breaching the ban face tough penalties including an unlimited fine or up to five years in jail.

“This is a pivotal moment in delivering one of our key manifesto commitments on international conservation,” said Biodiversity Minister Trudy Harrison. “The Ivory Act is one of the toughest bans of its kind in the world and by extending greater legal protections to five more species, we are sending a clear message that the commercial trade of ivory is totally unacceptable.”

“The UK has long led the way in conservation and our ban shows continued global leadership in doing all we can to protect the world’s most endangered species,” continued Harrison.

“This is an important moment in the conservation of these iconic species,” said Steve Backshall MBE. “There is widespread public support for the Ivory ban and by extending it further, we are sending a clear message that there is no place in the UK for this vile trade.”

“As we approach the one-year anniversary of the UK Ivory Act coming into force, IFAW UK is encouraged by early indications that the ban is having a significant impact on the trade in elephant ivory. Yet other species are still poached globally to meet an unnecessary demand for “luxury” ivory products, including the hippopotamus, walrus, narwhal, sperm whale, and killer whale,” said Frances Goodrum, Head of Campaigns and Programs at IFAW UK. “We welcome DEFRA’s decision to extend this powerful legislation, which will go a long way in cracking down on a damaging trade. Today is a good day for conservation and a step towards changing international commitments to safeguard our natural world.”

The five species are all listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES), which regulates their trade internationally. Hippopotamuses, walruses, and sperm whales are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

The UK plays a key role in supporting the agreement of the ambitious Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. The new deal, signed by 195 countries, commits countries to protect 30% of our land and oceans by 2030 and end human-induced extinctions of known threatened species.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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