Ivory, sometimes known as white gold is a real problem. Often valued as much as gold, the rewards for killing a wild elephant can amount too many decades, sometimes the equivalent of a lifetime’s wage to a poor African or Indian.
Any delay in putting in a ban on selling ivory can be problematic. This is because by making it illegal you make it harder for people to sell. If it’s harder to sell people will be more hesitant about killing an elephant – without a guaranteed big payout the the risk is often not worth it.
There is a legal exemption for antique ivory. The problem with this is that it has been shown time and time again that poached recent ivory is able to get through under this loophole.
As a result of this we need a far more effective system that stops modern poached ivory from ending up on the market. One of the real concerns of the most recent ivory poaching epidemic is that it reduces the population of African forest elephant by as much as half. Being as closely related to mammoth as to African elephants, this pushes forest elephant near to extinction.
The British government must live up to it’s good intentions and fast.