The Ivory Act

The Ivory Act 2018 will bring into force one of the world's toughest bans on ivory sales, including items containing elephant ivory.

 The ban will cover items of all ages, not just those made after a certain date, and the maximum available penalty for breaching it will be an unlimited fine or up to five years in prison. The ban will include certain narrowly-defined exemptions for items that do not contribute to poaching, where a ban would be unwarranted.

Ministers will soon be taking the next steps to implement the relevant secondary legislation, in line with the Government's recent consultation response. Progress on implementation was initially delayed by a legal challenge which the Government successfully defended. Ministers have also consulted on extending the Ivory Act to afford greater protections to a range of ivory-bearing species, including hippopotamuses and walruses.

Defra has also provided over £4.2 million in funding for Asian elephants living in the wild since 2015 through the Darwin Initiative and the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund. This includes funding towards a project seeking to reduce the illegal ivory trade in Cambodia, and a project supporting Nepal’s world-leading community anti-poaching efforts. 

Banning ivory sales will reaffirm the UK’s global leadership on this critical issue, demonstrating our belief that the abhorrent ivory trade should become a thing of the past.