Domestic trade in ivory will be banned starting from 1 September 2021, announced the National Parks Board in a press release on Monday (12 August).
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 in Singapore.
NParks note that this nationwide ban highlights Singapore’s resolve in the fight against illegal trade in species listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Under CITES, to which Singapore is a signatory, international trade in elephant ivory has been banned since 1990.
After the ban comes into effect, traders can donate their stock to institutions for educational purposes or keep them. NParks has shared that it will continue to work with them to ensure a smooth transition.
It is to be noted that public display of elephant ivory or ivory products for educational or religious purposes will continue to be permitted. Similarly, those who own musical instruments and personal effects like birdcages that contain ivory may continue to use them in public.
The latest seizure of elephant ivory on 21 July 2019 was a whopping 8.8 tonnes of elephant ivory, packed into 132 bags and estimated to be worth US$12.9 million (approximately S$17.6 million), were found. According to the authority, this was the largest seizure of elephant ivory in Singapore,
NParks shared that the Government has conducted extensive stakeholder engagements with the public, including non-government organisations and ivory retailers for their views and comments with regard to the proposed blanket ban since 2017.
A public consultation was also conducted on the REACH portal from November to December 2018 and results from the public consultation showed that 99 per cent of feedback received through REACH were supportive of the blanket ban.
Dr Leong Chee Chiew, Director-General, Wildlife Trade Control, said, “It is time that we are announcing the domestic ban of trade in ivory on World Elephant Day. NParks, as the national authority that enforces CITES in Singapore, is committed to stopping the trade of elephant ivory and its products for the conservation and protection of the world’s elephants.”
“This is aligned with the views shared by the community who are similarly concerned about the impact that trade in elephant ivory has on the animal’s population numbers. Thus, local retailers will need to observe the ban in ivory trade when it comes into effect on 1 September 2021,” he added.
Once the ban comes into effect, those found to have offered ivory or ivory products for sale, or for public display for the purpose of sale, may be charged under the Endangered Species (Import & Export) Act, which carries a penalty of up to $10,000 in fine per specimen, not exceeding $100,000 in total and/or up-to 12 months’ imprisonment upon conviction.