Australia to finally ban domestic trade in elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn

06 September 2019

At the 18th Conference of Parties to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) delegates for Australia formally announced the country’s intention to finally ban the domestic trade of elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn. Environment Minister Sussan Ley will meet with National Environment Ministers in November to discuss nationwide enactment and enforcement across all jurisdictions.

The announcement comes well after the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Law Enforcement completed its Inquiry into Australia’s domestic markets, with its Final Report recommending the measures last September. The ban could see some exemptions including musical instruments made prior to 1975 and containing less than 20% ivory as well as CITES accredited museum pieces. A domestic trade ban on ivory will see Australia join jurisdictions including the UK, China and most recently Singapore despite trade continuing legally in Japan and many EU countries.

It appears that the potential for Australia to become a “weak target” for organised criminal syndicates trafficking illegal wildlife products and other blackmarket commodities played a significant role in the decision. As explained by Zara Bending (Board Director at JGIA and Associate at Macquarie University’s Centre for Environmental Law) in her expert appearance before the Inquiry: “…a common concern is that displacement will see the activities of these resilient criminal networks shift to states where legal rules are lax in substance or implementation or are ambiguous or non-existent.”

JGIA thanks its volunteers and supporters for raising their voices for wildlife as part of our Global ForeverWild campaign to end wildlife trafficking (link to page). We also want to acknowledge the part that our young people at Roots & Shoots Australia have played in this movement, including three of our youth leaders (Shannon, Mary and Maya) attending public hearings last year.

You can read the Committee’s Final Report here:

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