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What is the UK ivory ban, when will it come into effect and how many elephants are killed for their tusks each year?

THE international illegal ivory trade encourages poachers in Africa to kill up to 20,000 elephants a year for their tusks.

Now Britain is set to lead the world in stopping the bloody business – by imposing a complete ban on the sale of ivory. Here’s all you need to know about the imminent crackdown.

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What is the UK ivory ban?

The British ban on ivory sales is to be one of the toughest in the world, according to environment secretary Michael Gove.

It will see the sale of ivory of any age, with limited exceptions, banned.

Still to be signed into law, the ban comes after a consultation in which more than 60,000 people favoured the move.

In 2016 Prince William voiced his support for a crackdown, warning the African elephant will have disappeared from the wild by the time his daughter, Princess Charlotte, turns 25.

Anyone caught breaking the ban will face up to five years in jail or an unlimited fine, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) say.

Other countries have already banned the trade in ivory – expected to make £17 billion a year – but many allow older items to be bought and sold.

The US federal ban exempts all items older than 100 years as well as items with up to 50 per cent ivory content.

In China the ban exempts ivory “relics” without setting a date before which these must have been produced.

When will the ban come into force?

It is unclear exactly when the UK ban will come into force but the legislation is expected to be placed before parliament as soon as possible.

Trade in raw ivory is already illegal in the UK but buying and selling items made from the substance is largely unrestricted provided they were made before March 3 1947.

Any made after this date require a certificate before they can be traded.

The ban is the latest in a string of environmentally friendly policies announced by Defra.

Elephants Without Borders said on September 4, 2018 that 87 elephant carcasses had been discovered in Botswana in what is believed to be on of Africa’s worst ever cases of mass poaching.

What is the UK ivory ban, when will it come into effect and how many elephants are killed for their tusks each year

What are the ban’s exemptions?

There will still be some exemptions to the forthcoming UK ban.

According to Defra, these are designed to ensure people are not “unfairly impacted” and for “items which do not contribute to the poaching of elephants”.

The exemptions include:

  • Items comprised less than 10 per cent ivory (by volume) and made before 1947.
  • Musical instruments made before 1975 and comprised of less than 20 per cent ivory.
  • Rare or important items, at least 100 years old, will be assessed by specialist institutions before exemption permits are issued.
  • There will be specific exemptions for portrait miniatures painted on thin ivory bases and for commercial activity between accredited museums

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