Should ivory sales be banned in Singapore? AVA invites public to share their views

Should ivory sales be banned in Singapore? AVA invites public to share their views

NIP Singapore ivory
Workers prepare for illegal ivory to be destroyed by a rock-crusher machinery in Singapore. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: The public has been invited to share their views on a proposed ban on the sale of elephant ivory and ivory products in Singapore.

A month-long public consultation was launched on Tuesday (Nov 27) by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) to gather feedback from the public on the issue.

"The proposed ban is in line with Singapore’s broader commitment to tackle the illegal elephant ivory trade and support elephant conservation," said AVA.

READ: Slammed 'ivory store' part of WWF campaign to raise awareness on Singapore wildlife laws

The proposed "total ban" on local elephant ivory sale will be under the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act, AVA added.

This means that businesses and individuals will no longer be able to buy or sell all forms of elephant ivory products in Singapore, and public displays of these products will also not be allowed. 

The only exception will be the display of ivory and ivory products for educational purposes in places like zoos and museums.

Singapore has imposed a similar ban on the local sales of rhinoceros and tiger specimens since 2006.

A grace period of up to three years will be given to those affected by the ivory ban to decide what they wish to do with their existing stocks of elephant ivory and ivory products.

"Local businesses and individuals who own ivory can consider keeping, donating, or destroying the ivory," AVA said.

Currently, Singapore is party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This means that Singapore has banned international trade on all forms of elephant ivory products since 1990.

However, domestic trade is still permitted if traders show that their items were imported before 1990, or were acquired before the inclusion of the relevant elephant species in CITES.

CITES has since urged countries to consider banning domestic trade as well, with countries like China, Hong Kong, the United States and the United Kingdom taking stricter action against the domestic trade of elephant ivory.

The Singapore Government had previously said it was considering a ban on the sale of ivory and that the implementation details were being worked out.

The sale of ivory products became a hot topic among Singaporeans in August when an online store was slammed for "selling" accessories made of vintage ivory.

It was later revealed that the store was part of a campaign by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to raise awareness about the "shortcomings" of local wildlife protection laws.

There have also been instances of ivory products worth millions being smuggled into Singapore.

During the public consultation in Singapore, those who wish to share their views with AVA can email the authority at Members of the public can also send a letter addressed to:

Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (Headquarters) 

JEM Office Tower, 52 Jurong Gateway Road

#14-01, Singapore 608550 

(Attn: QIG/Wildlife – Public Consultation)

Source: CNA/aa(hm)