London, May 31 (IANS) The British government has announced it wants to extend its tough ivory law by adding other ivory bearing species, including hippos, walruses and some of the whale family to the protection list.
The government launched on Thursday a call for evidence on the subject.
Last December, the landmark Ivory Act came into force in Britain, bringing with it one of the toughest bans on elephant ivory in the world.
“The new call for evidence will seek to gain further understanding about the trade in ivory from other, non-elephant species,” said the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
Defra said the announcement delivers on a pledge made by ministers to gather evidence on the trade in ivory from species other than elephants, Xinhua news agency reported.
“The Ivory Act includes a power to allow the ban to be extended to other, non-elephant, ivory bearing species. This power is one way in which the government could further protect other ivory-bearing species,” said a Defra spokesperson.
The government wants to hear from specialists and experts during a 12-week call for evidence period.
“Our ivory ban is one of the toughest in the world and demonstrates that we see the elephant ivory trade as a thing of the past and will help the global effort to protect elephants for future generations,” said Therese Coffey, parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment.
“But there are many more precious species, like the hippo and walrus, which could fall victim to the trade in ivory.”
“This call for evidence will help us to understand if we need to take any further action to protect these animals from the trade in their ivory,” she added.
The full list of species to be included within the scope of the call for evidence includes common hippopotamus, walrus, narwhal, sperm whale, killer whale, common warthog, desert warthog and mammoth.
Although the mammoth is included in the call for evidence, the trade in mammoth ivory may be linked to the trade in elephant ivory due to their similarity, said Defra.