An elephant is killed every 15 minutes in Africa - more than 140,000 elephants have been poached between 2007 and 2014 - their blood stained bodies discarded in the bush. Now it's time for the UK to take a stand for elephants and demonstrate global leadership by closing the UK’s domestic ivory markets. 

Save Me Trust is calling for the British government to close the antique and modern ivory markets and stop the transit of any ivory products through the UK before the International Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference in London in February 2018.

The UK should not have any part in the global illegal ivory trade. Introducing a ban sends a powerful message that the UK is committed to the protection of the world’s threatened elephants and reinforces the UK’s role as a global leader in tackling illegal wildlife trade.

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History has been unkind to elephants - bloody unkind. Throughout history, the human desire for ivory - used in products from jewellery and religious artefacts to ‘trinkets' - has far outmatched efforts to stop the killing of African elephants for their tusks. Ivory has been desired since antiquity because its relative softness made it easy to carve into intricate decorative items for the very wealthy. 

An estimated 26 million elephants roamed throughout Africa when the first European traders and explorers arrived (c1500-1800). The traders soon became hunters when they discovered ivory. They needed a way to transport the heavy ivory to the coast, but due to "sleeping sickness" that affected horses, cattle and donkeys, people were the primary movers of goods. The need for human porters meant that the growing slave and ivory trades went hand-in-hand, particularly in the east and central Africa.

 

In the 19th century, the European empires stretched across Africa. The elephant population halved within a century to around ten million. Ivory is in vogue in Europe and America. Combs, piano keys, pool table balls and ornaments fashioned from elephant tusks are in high demand. Tragically, by the beginning of the 20th century, Africa’s elephant populations had been reduced to 1.3 million due to the insatiable demand from the West

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