August 12, 2019 / 8:55 AM / 2 months ago

Singapore to ban domestic elephant ivory trade from 2021

Pangolin scales and elephant ivory that were seized by Singapore's National Parks Board, Customs and Immigration and Checkpoints Authority from a shipment from the Democratic Republic of Congo are seen in Singapore, in this undated handout released on July 23, 2019. Singapore National Parks Board/Handout via REUTERS

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore will ban the domestic trade in ivory from September 2021, the government said on Monday, shutting the door to an important end-market for poached elephant ivory.

Demand for ivory from Asian countries such as China and Vietnam, where it is turned into jewels and ornaments, has led to a surge in poaching across Africa.

The international trade in ivory has been banned since 1990 under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), an international treaty signed by most countries.

But environmentalists say poached ivory can be disguised as legal as long as trade is allowed in licensed outlets on the high street and online.

“Singapore announced today a ban on the domestic trade in

elephant ivory,” The National Parks Board, a government agency, said in a statement that coincided with World Elephant Day.

“The ban will mean that the sale of elephant ivory and ivory products, and public display of elephant ivory and ivory products for the purpose of sale will be prohibited,” it said.

China, the largest end-market for elephant ivory, banned domestic trade in 2017.

An estimated 100 African elephants are killed each day by poachers seeking ivory, meat and body parts, leaving only 400,000 remaining, environmentalists estimate.

Reporting by Joe Brock; editing by Darren Schuettler

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