Australia to ban domestic trade of elephant ivory and rhino horn

Elephants roaming through trees and low bush at the Pilanesberg National Park in the North West province, South Africa, on Aug 17, 2019.
Elephants roaming through trees and low bush at the Pilanesberg National Park in the North West province, South Africa, on Aug 17, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

CANBERRA (DPA) - Australia formally announced on Thursday (Aug 22) it will ban the domestic trade of ivory and rhino horn.

Australia's Environment Minister Sussan Ley confirmed her government's intention to pursue the ivory ban in an address at the meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Geneva that kicked off on Aug 17.

"Australia has addressed the meeting of CITES in Geneva, formally announcing our intention to close the domestic trade of elephant ivory and rhino horn," Ley said in a statement released on Thursday.

"I will meet with national environment ministers in November to ensure steps are being taken to formally end domestic trade in all jurisdictions."

Ley said that though Australia's domestic market does not represent a major threat to world ivory trade, it is important to ensure there are no "back doors" to encourage illegal activity.

The CITES meeting brings together 183 signatories of a 1973 pact placing curbs and bans on the cross-border sale of some 5,000 animal and 30,000 plant species.