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Report exposes Europe’s 'thriving' domestic ivory trade
Avaaz is calling for urgent action to close the legal loophole for pre-1947 ivory. (Stock photo)
Legal loophole ‘allowing illegal ivory to slip through the net’

A new report from environmental group Avaaz is calling for urgent action to tackle Europe’s ‘thriving’ domestic trade in ivory, after high levels of illegal ivory were found in nearly every country tested.

The group bought 109 pieces of ivory from 10 countries across Europe, from both antique dealers and private sellers. The items were sent to Oxford University’s radiocarbon lab for testing.

According to the results, nearly 75 per cent were fake antiques being sold illegally. One in five (19 per cent) of the pieces came from elephants that were alive in the 1990s and 2000s, and were killed after the trade in new ivory became illegal. The most recent ivory tested in the study was dated after 2010.

Avaaz says these results show when the ivory grew on the elephant, not when the animal died, so these elephants could have been killed years or even decades before the dates shown in the report.

Under current EU law, worked ivory that was originally obtained before 1947 can be legally traded without restrictions. Ivory produced between 1947 and 1990 can be traded with a government-issued certificate, but there is a total ban on ivory that is newer that 1990.

Poaching to meet the demand for ivory is devastating elephant populations, with 55 being killed every day. On the African savannahs, elephant numbers fell by a third between 2007 and 2014, while in Central African forests, populations dropped 66 per cent between 2008 and 2016.

As the European Commission is currently reviewing EU ivory laws, Avaaz is calling for urgent action to close the legal loophole for pre-1947 ivory. The group argues that, owing to the difficulty in dating ivory without the use of sophisticated methods, the loophole is allowing illegal ivory to masquerade as antique.

Avaaz is also calling for ivory exports from Europe to be banned and for the EU’s internal trade in raw tusks to be shut down. The UK’s ivory ban was highlighted as an excellent model, as it outlaws almost all trade in ivory.

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Report: A third of Welsh birds are in decline

News Story 1
 A report by RSPB Cymru and partnering ornithology organisations has revealed that a third of bird species in Wales are in significant decline.

90 per cent of Wales is farmed and there is now pressure to implement new land management policies that will aid in nature restoration.

Patrick Lindley, Maritime Ornithologist for Natural Resources Wales, commented: “The problems that confront UK birds, whether they are breeding or non-breeding, are pressure and threats that confront entire ecosystems.

“Birds are a great indicator to the health of our environment. The continued population declines of birds of farmed, woodland and upland habitats suggest there are large geographic themes that are having a detrimental impact.”  

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News Shorts
British sheep meat to be exported to India in new agreement

The UK government has secured a new export deal of sheep meat to India.

In 2017, UK sheep meat exports were worth £386 million. This new agreement is predicted to increase this value by £6 million over the next five years.

With a range of meat cuts due to be exported, the deal is seen by international trade secretary, Dr Liam Fox MP, as “another vote of confidence in our world-leading food and drink”.