By The Online Citizen
Starting from Wednesday (1 September), Singapore has imposed a nationwide ban in the sale of elephant ivory and ivory products, after first announcing it in 2019.
The National Parks Board (NParks) said in a Facebook post on Tuesday (31 August) that it will become illegal for anyone to sell any ivory products, including elephant ivory, in the Republic.
If that’s not all, the public display of elephant ivory and ivory products for the purpose of sale will also be prohibited.
“As a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Singapore takes a zero-tolerance stance on illegal wildlife trade.
“This ban on the domestic trade in elephant ivory, first announced in 2019, highlights our resolve in the fight against the illegal ivory trade,” said NParks.
From 1 Sep onwards, those who have been found guilty for offering elephant ivory, or ivory products, for sale, or displaying said items for the purpose of sale, may be charged under the Endangered Species (Import & Export) Act.
The offence carries a penalty of a fine of up to S$10,000 per specimen, not exceeding S$100,000 in total and/or up to 12 months’ imprisonment upon conviction.
In 2017, Member of Parliament (MP) and wildlife society ACRES founder Louis Ng first raised the issue of a complete ban on domestic trade in elephant ivory in Parliament. Two year later, the decision of a complete ban was announced after a public consultation was made.
Before this, the local sale of ivory is still allowed if vendors can provide documentations stating that their ivory was imported before 1990, or were acquired before elephants were categorised as endangered species by CITES.
Since 2019, traders were given two years to either donate their ivory to institutions for educational purposes, or keep them.
Some not-for-sale purposes of ivory will continue to be allowed, and these include the public display of ivory for educational or religious purposes.