China recently announced it would shut down its domestic ivory market by the end of 2017, starting with the closure of a number of factories by the end of March! This follows moves by France and the USA to ban domestic sales of ivory (California, New Jersey, New York and Hawaii currently have legislation in place) and signals from the UK that they are also looking to move in this direction. Whilst not a major market for ivory, IFAW's Under the Hammer report into the trade of elephant ivory and rhino horn showed that there is a flourishing domestic market here worth hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, and little regulation or enforcement of the sale of these items occurring.
Tell the Australian Government to take a stand and support the efforts of the international community to shut down all avenues that allow the trade of ivory to continue.
Letter subject line: Please support a domestic ivory ban
Dear Australian MP's:
As a supporter of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) I was delighted by the announcement late last year that the world's largest market for elephant ivory – China – will work to close its domestic ivory market by the end of 2017, starting with the closure of a number of factories by the end of March.
International will to close domestic ivory markets is gaining momentum, most recently 152 Governments (including Australia) adopted by consensus of a Decision at the 17th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) to shut domestic ivory markets where trade is contributing to the illegal poaching of elephants in Africa. While recognising that Australia is not considered a major contributing factor to the poaching crisis, the fact remains that any legal market for ivory or "white gold" sends the wrong signal to poachers and criminal syndicates who will use any opportunity available to supply the demand.
IFAW's 2016 report into the sale of elephant ivory and rhino horn through Australian auction houses showed the domestic market for elephant ivory carvings, statues, jewelry and even whole tusks is thriving and worth hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Of great concern was that only eight percent of the items listed for sale were accompanied by appropriate levels of provenance documentation to prove the legality of the listed item.
While African elephant range states continue to call for the international community to help them shut all avenues that encourage the illegal poaching of elephants, Australia is lagging behind taking such action.
Australia has a wonderful opportunity to be seen as a leader in the protection of iconic African elephants for future generations. Please write to The Hon. Josh Frydenberg, Minister for the Environment and Energy, declaring your support for and calling on the Australian Government to take action to support global moves to close domestic ivory markets and implement a domestic ban on the sale of ivory items and rhino horn.