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May 1, 2016

France Bans Ivory Trade

Humane Society International/Europe welcomes move

Humane Society International/Europe

  • Peter Malsbury/iStockphoto

The French Environment Minister Ségolène Royal has announced her intention to implement a ban on ivory trade in all French territories and stated her support for similar measures at an EU level. Minister Royal’s statement was issued at an event earlier this week in Kenya, which saw the largest quantity of ivory ever being crushed as part of efforts to crack down on elephant poaching in Africa. Humane Society International/Europe’s executive director, Joanna Swabe, issued the following statement. 

”Humane Society International/Europe warmly welcomes Ségolène Royal’s commitment to fighting wildlife crime and tackling the cruel ivory trade. Each year, poachers supply this trade by butchering nearly 35,000 African elephants. Tusks are being turned into trinkets for the luxury market while elephant populations are pushed towards the brink of extinction. The minister’s decision to ban the trade in ivory in France, and all of its overseas territories, therefore represents an important step in the global fight against wildlife crime. We strongly commend Ségolène Royal for this action and urge other EU Member States to institute similar measures to put an end to this abhorrent trade.”

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  • Elephant poaching and ivory trafficking have been linked to transnational organized crime and African armed rebels, including groups with terrorist ties. According to a United Nations Environment Program report, the likely annual income from ivory to militias in the entire Sub-Saharan range is in the order of USD 4.0 million to 12.2 million. In 2013, more than 41 tons of illicit ivory were seized. 
  • The ban on ivory trade is part of comprehensive measures that Ségolène Royal has taken to tackle the poaching and trafficking of threatened species. These include:
  • The immediate suspension of the delivering of export certificates for raw ivory by France;
  • Calls on other EU Member States to ban the export of raw ivory as already done by Germany, Sweden and the UK;
  • Strengthened cooperation between the Ministry of Environment and the customs and the relaunch of the plan for interministerial cooperation destined to better the synergy between services and to better enforcement, notably at borders;
  • Introduction of tougher penalties under French law for the trafficking of threatened species (i.e. elephants, rhinoceroses, tigers, types of tropical woods, etc.).  Fines for infractions will increase tenfold from €15,000 to €150,000 and fivefold in case of organised crime from €150,000 to €750,000.

Media contact:
US: Raúl Arce-Contreras, rcontreras@humanesociety.org, +1 301-721-6440

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