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Closing down the UK’s ivory trade

In the UK some trade in elephant ivory is currently legal, including, for example, antique ivory produced before 1947. Recent evidence has revealed that the UK’s legal ivory market has been used as a cover for trade in illegal ivory and some shipments are destined for Asia – showing that current regulations must be strengthened.

We are calling for a ban on the legal elephant ivory trade in the UK, to stop any contribution to stimulating the global demand for ivory which drives the poaching of elephantsWe urge the UK Government to close ‘antique’ ivory as well as ‘modern’ ivory markets. Such commitment from the UK would set a precedent for other countries worldwide where demand for ivory strongly contributes to the ongoing elephant poaching crisis.

Sentencing guidelines needed for wildlife trade offences

We are currently advocating for the introduction of sentencing guidelines for wildlife trade offences in England and Wales. A new report by WWF analysed 174 cases of illegal wildlife trade in England and Wales and found that sentencing was considered to be inconsistent and lenient when the high profits and significant harms of offending were taken into account. The report shows that one of the reasons for lenient sentences is that judges and sentencers might not be informed about the seriousness of wildlife trade offences. Find out more about the report.

WWF’s Eyes and Ears initiative

WWF’s Eyes and Ears initiative asks the public to report anything they have seen or heard that may be linked to illegal wildlife trade. After initial investigation we will pass on information to the relevant authority for appropriate enforcement.

Wildlife Crime Initiative

Launched in 2014, the Wildlife Crime Initiative is a long-term, collaborative initiative between us and TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network. By strategically using each organisation’s specific skills and resources, the initiative plays a key role in urgent global efforts to address the poaching crisis by expanding the scope and impact of our work on wildlife crime.

Wildlife Law Enforcer of the Year

Combatting wildlife crime in the UK wouldn’t be possible without the dedication and passion of the men and women who work as enforcement officers. The Wildlife Law Enforcer of the Year award is presented by the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime (PAW), and is sponsored by us. The award recognises the formidable work of wildlife law enforcement officers in the UK, as PAW looks to a future of ongoing wildlife protection, raising awareness of threats to our native wildlife and to reduce the ever-present problem of illegal trading in internationally protected wildlife.

Our successes so far

In 2003, our campaigning helped increase the penalty for illegally dealing in wildlife products, and in 2010 we got the UK and EU partners to clamp down on the re-export of rhino horn.

In 2012, working with our partners, TRAFFIC - the wildlife trade monitoring network, we launched our biggest ever global campaign to end wildlife crime.

As part of the campaign in the UK, we called on government ministers to recognise the importance of the National Wildlife Crime Unit – a specialist police unit working to stop wildlife crime in the UK – and commit to providing sustained, long-term funding for the unit.

This was achieved in 2014 when the government extended its funding for the unit for two years. We’ll continue to campaign to secure the future of the unit, including funding for a specialist officer dedicated to the growing problem of illegal internet-based wildlife trade.

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