Illustrative image (Photo: AFP)
 
Singapore (VNA) – The Singaporean government said on August 12 that it will impose a blanket ban on the domestic sale of elephant ivory and products from 2021 as a campaign against illegal wildlife trade is being tightened.

The announcement was made on the occasion of World Elephant Day, after two years of consultations with non-government groups, retailers and the public.

Singapore's National Parks Board said in a statement that the decision will take effect on September 1, 2021. Violators will face a jail term of up to one year and fines if convicted. Traders can donate their ivory stocks to institutions or keep them after the ban takes effect.

Last month, authorities made their largest ever seizure of smuggled ivory, impounding nearly nine tonnes of contraband tusks from an estimated 300 African elephants valued at 12.9 million USD.

Public consultation by the government last year showed that 99 percent of those who responded were in favour of a total ban.

Singapore has banned international trade in all forms of elephant ivory products since 1990.

Such items could be sold domestically if traders could prove they were imported before that year or acquired prior to the inclusion of the relevant elephant species in an international convention protecting endangered species.

The global trade in elephant ivory has picked up since 1989 after the population of the African giants dropped from millions in the mid-20th century to around 600,000 by the end of the 1980s.-VNA