I watched with great interest as Prince William delivered his speech on illegal poaching of ivory to campaigners and policymakers at Time For Change, an event organised by the conservation charity Tusk, of which he is a patron. He spoke with passion stating that he was “not prepared to be part of a generation that lets these iconic species disappear from the wild”.
He is absolutely right to take this issue seriously and I am glad the Government is as well. We recently hosted and led the London Conference on Wildlife Trafficking. Over 40 countries adopted the London Declaration in an effort to save iconic species, including elephants, from being poached to the brink of extinction. The Buckingham Palace Declaration followed up on this work with a range of commitments to help the private sector tackle this illegal trade, and the UK has also made available £9.8 million for various projects through the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund.
The UK does not permit trade in raw ivory tusks of any age, and is pressing for this approach to be taken internationally. The Government has also announced plans to ban sales of modern-day ivory, which will put the UK's rules on ivory sales among the toughest in the world.
In addition to the issues in Africa, Ministers also recognise the growing threats to the Asian elephant from the illegal trade in live animals, fed by demand from the tourist and entertainment industries. The UK has been working through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to increase protections, and in 2014 secured agreement for elephant range states to put in place measures to prevent this illegal trade.