The UK has solidified its commitment to wildlife conservation, extending the protection coverage of the Ivory Act of 2018 to include additional endangered species.
This monumental move signals a vital step forward in the fight against illegal ivory trading, a grave issue threatening the survival of numerous species across the globe.
Previously, the Ivory Act primarily focused on prohibiting the trade of elephant ivory. However, the revised legislation now encompasses five more ivory-bearing animals: hippos, orcas, narwhals, sperm whales, and walruses.
With this expanded law, severe penalties await those involved in the import, export, or dealing of ivory from these species, including potentially limitless fines and up to five years of imprisonment.
Ivory, commonly used in creating decorative items, musical instruments, and jewelry, and occasionally in traditional Chinese medicine, is extracted from the teeth of animals like elephants, hippos, and walruses.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, the devastating reality is that over 20,000 African elephants fall victim to poaching each year, solely for their tusks, with the hippopotamus identified as the second most at-risk species.
However, the looming threat of a “sixth mass extinction”, as stated by numerous scientists, extends beyond poaching. Habitat destruction and Climate change are key contributors, further accelerating the decline in wildlife populations. Recent studies reveal an alarming fact – nearly 48% of over 71,000 species globally are dwindling.
Industry experts are lauding this legislative enhancement. Frances Goodrum, the head of campaigns and programs at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) U.K., conveyed her approval to the BBC, emphasizing that this significant day marked a progressive step in Conservation efforts and commitments to safeguard our natural environment.
Echoing this sentiment, Frankie Osuch, policy Support officer for the U.K.-based non-profit Born Free, recognized the importance of this step in eliminating the demand for and trade in all ivory products.
In a statement, Osuch insisted, “The teeth and tusks of wild animals should not be simply treated as commodities, and it is essential for legislation to reflect that.”
The expansion of the Ivory Act signals a crucial victory for Conservation, reiterating that the survival and well-being of these incredible creatures should not be compromised for materialistic gains.
It’s indeed a glorious day for wildlife Conservation and a significant leap toward preserving our natural world.
This article by Josie Fu was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 20 June 2023.
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