Each year, at least 20,000 African elephants are illegally killed to supply ivory into illegal markets. Singapore has been recognized as a major transit hub in the illegal ivory trade chain. Since 2000 it has seized at least 13 tons of ivory, predominately destined for Vietnam and China. Between 2010 and 2018 Singapore made 8 seizures - 6 of which were over 500kg - and was linked to 20 seizures which took place in other countries. Singapore has also been a significant legal importer and exporter of ivory items in recent years. In the decade from 2007-2016, according to the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) trade database, more than 15,000 ivory items derived from African elephants were reported to have been exported to Singapore, and Singapore declared exports of more than 1,700 items and almost half a tons of ivory by weight.
On Nov. 28,Singapore’s Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), the agency responsible for safeguarding animal and plant health in Singapore, announced a proposed ivory ban under the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act. The ban would completely prohibit local businesses and individuals from selling or buying all forms of elephant ivory products in Singapore. Display of elephant ivory in public would also be banned, except when used for educational purposes, such as in museums or zoos. The proposal does not list any other exceptions and also gives stakeholders a three-year grace period during which they can decide what they want to do with their existing stocks of elephant ivory products. “Local businesses and individuals who own ivory can consider keeping, donating, or destroying the ivory,” the AVA said. AVA has opened its proposal to public comments until Dec. 27 this year. Please TAKE ACTION by sending the letter below to help ensure the proposed ban is introduced and implemented as law.