Consultation on extending the Ivory Act to other species

Defra have launched a public consultation which will potentially strengthen the UK’s Ivory Act, by extending protection to include all five CITES-listed ivory-bearing species (hippopotamus, narwhal, killer whale, sperm whale and walrus).rather than just elephants as now.

Hippos are targeted by trophy hunters but they are also targeted for their ivory. Narwhals (there are thought to bne just 75,000 individuals left), walruses, sperm and killer whales are also hunted for their tusks and teeth.

The ivory trade is a huge threat to ALL ivory bearing species, and the UK’s Ivory Act which will be enacted later this year could be one of the most comprehensive bans on ivory trade in the world.

The consultation survey link here takes you to a short survey asking for responses on allowing the ban to be extended to other, non-elephant ivory-bearing species and proposes three options:

  1. * Retain the current ban on elephant ivory only
  2. * Extend the Ivory Act to five CITES-listed species: hippo, narwhal, killer whale, sperm whale and walrus
  3. * Extend the Ivory Act to hippo ivory only

Please choose Option 2. Option 3 will inevitably leave open loopholes that traders will seek to exploit.

There are a few very quick questions to answer that require no deep technical knowledge and the whole consultation takes about a minute to complete. The consultation runs until 11th Sept 2021


We are launching this consultation to seek your views on whether the Government should bring forward legislation to extend the ban on the commercial dealing of elephant ivory in the UK to other ivory bearing species (non-elephant ivory).

In the 25 Year Environment Plan, the UK government committed to providing international leadership in protecting and improving international biodiversity and undertaking action to protect endangered species. The UK is a world leader in animal protection, and it is our priority to protect the planets most endangered species. In line with this the Ivory Act 2018 received Royal Assent on 20 December 2018. When commenced, it will ban dealing of items made of, or containing elephant ivory, regardless of their age. Dealing means the sale, purchase or hire, and offering to sell, purchase or hire. The ban will apply to dealings taking place within the UK and to exports from and imports into the UK for commercial purposes.

Section 37 (2) of the Ivory Act provides a power to amend the scope of the Ivory Act by regulations to include ivory from another animal or species. During the Parliamentary passage of the Ivory Bill, the government committed to gather evidence on this issue and published a call for evidence in May 2019. The summary of responses to the call for evidence was published in November 2020.

The responses to the call for evidence indicated that the circumstances in relation to the UK market for ivory from each of the species under consideration differ from those relating to elephant ivory and from each other.

There were some strong sectoral views that the evidence for extending the ban to other species does not support such action. However, the evidence provided indicated that the species most at risk and likely to benefit from a ban is the hippopotamus. Evidence was also submitted to support taking action on a precautionary basis in relation to certain other species listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) (narwhal, killer whale, sperm whale and walrus). In response to the views expressed and evidence submitted in the call for evidence we are consulting on three options including two to extend the ban in dealing in ivory to other species.

Defra, Consultation on extending the Ivory Act to other species