On 3 October 2015, the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos took place in London and 130 other cities around the world.

    The main focus of the London march this year was to urge the government to take action to help save African elephants. At the end of the march, representatives from Action for Elephants UK, Born Free, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and IFAW delivered a letter to Downing St to urge David Cameron to fulfill his manifesto pledge to “press for a total ban on ivory sales”.

    We hope that the large turnout for the march, along with the letter signed by over 100 NGOs, leading conservationists, MPs, and celebrities, will show Cameron the strength of public feeling about the issue. The Conservative Party made the same pledge to ban ivory in its 2010 manifesto – but failed to take action. In the 5 years since then, over 170,000 elephants have been brutally slaughtered for their ivory. David Cameron cannot afford to dither any longer in the face of this horrific crisis – he must act now to end all UK involvement in the ivory trade.

    This is the letter and list of signatories:

     

    6 October 2015

    Dear Prime Minister,

    Our group Action for Elephants UK and the undersigned are writing to appeal to you to ban all trade in ivory in the UK, as promised in the Conservative Party’s election manifesto in 2010 and reiterated in its 2015 manifesto.

    Action for Elephants UK is a grass-roots advocacy group dedicated to raising awareness and taking action on behalf of elephants both in the wild and captivity. In particular, we are working to end the elephant poaching crisis and ivory trade. Our group has grown rapidly since it was founded in 2013, reflecting the increasing public concern for the ongoing poaching crisis that is decimating elephants in the wild.

    It is estimated that upwards of 35,000 elephants continue to be slaughtered for their ivory every year. At this rate of poaching, the two species of African elephants (savannah and forest) could disappear from the wild within a generation. The window of opportunity for saving them is rapidly shrinking. As you are aware, the most significant way that elephants can be saved from extinction is by ending consumer demand for ivory and closing down domestic ivory markets, everywhere.

    At present a legal ivory trade exists in the UK. Within the EU, the UK is one of the largest markets for ivory; the UK sells significant amounts of ivory on online marketplaces. Any legal trade enables and encourages illegal trade in ivory, while continuing to perpetuate the cycle of supply and demand.

    Further, it makes it more difficult to urge China to adopt an ivory ban if the UK and other western countries have failed to do the same.

    In the 5 years since the Conservative Party committed to ending ivory trade in 2010, elephant numbers have crashed in what has become the worst poaching crisis ever. Between 2010 and 2012 over 100,000 elephants were brutally slaughtered for their ivory. Tanzania alone has lost 60% of its elephant population, and Mozambique around half. The trade is fuelled by organized criminal syndicates and widespread corruption, and terrorist groups are also involved in, and partly funded by, poaching and trafficking.

    In 2014, the US government announced federal initiatives to ban ivory, and in July 2015 President Obama proposed new regulations that would virtually eliminate all ivory trade in the US. In February 2015, China imposed a 1-year ban on the import of carved ivory, and in May announced it would ‘take measures to strictly control its ivory trade until eventually halting commercial processing and the sale of ivory and its products’.  Last month President Obama and Xi Jinping agreed to enact ‘nearly complete bans on ivory imports and exports’ and to ‘take steps to halt the domestic commercial trade of ivory’.

    Now is the time for the UK to join the global momentum and for the government to turn its promise to ban all ivory trade into long overdue action.

    Prime Minister, on behalf of all concerned citizens in the UK, we respectfully appeal to you to honour your pledge and commit the UK to ending all domestic trade in ivory once and for all.

    We thank you for your attention and consideration.

    Yours sincerely,

    Maria Mossman

    Action for Elephants UK

     

    And we, the undersigned:
    Damian Aspinall
    Chairman, The Aspinall Foundation

    Mike Baker
    Chief Executive, World Animal Protection

    Claire Bass
    Executive Director, Humane Society International UK (HSI UK)

    Sport Beattie
    Game Rangers International

    Sarah Blaine
    CEO and Founder of Mahouts Elephant Foundation

    Scott Blais
    Co-founder, Global Sanctuary for Elephants

    Richard Bonham
    Co-founder & Director, Big Life Foundation

    Rob Brandford
    Director David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust iworry Campaign
    and
    Dame Daphne Sheldrick D.B.E
    Chairman David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

    Carol Buckley
    Founder, Elephant Aid International

    Reute Butler
    President, Friends of Conservation US
    and
    Jorie Butler Kent
    Founder and Chairman, Friends of Conservation
    and
    Amanda Bleasby
    Operations Director, Friends of Conservation UK

    Julie Callahan
    March for Elephants, Santa Cruz, CA

    Nicky Campbell
    TV and radio presenter

    Salisha Chandra
    Founding member, Kenyans United Against Poaching – KUAPO Trust

    Stefano & Liz Cheli
    CEOs, Cheli & Peacock Safaris and the C&P Community Trust

    Katherine Connor
    Founder and CEO, Boon Lotts Elephant Sanctuary

    Ian Craig
    Director of Conservation, The Northern Rangelands Trust

    Brian Davies
    Network for Animals

    Arend de Haas
    Co-founder & Director, African Conservation Foundation

    Iain Douglas-Hamilton OBE
    Founder and CEO, Save the Elephants

    Lee Durrell
    Honorary Director, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust

    Dr Keith Dutlow
    Trustee and Director, AWARE Trust Zimbabwe

    Dominic Dyer
    CEO Badger Trust & Policy Advisor Born Free Foundation

    Dr Kate Evans
    Founder & Director, Elephants for Africa

    Peter Fearnhead
    CEO, African Parks

    Sudarshani Fernando
    Co-founder & Facilitator, Sentinels Against Wildlife Crime (SAWC)

    Ricky Gervais
    Writer and producer

    Jane Goodall PhD DBE
    Founder the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace

    Max Graham
    Founder & CEO, Space for Giants

    Raabia Hawa
    Executive Director, Ulinzi Africa Foundation& Founder of Walk With Rangers Initiative

    Stephanie Hilbourne OBE
    Chief Executive, The Wildlife Trusts

    Liz Hosken
    Director, The Gaia Foundation

    Sujeewa Jasinghe
    Co-founder & Director, Centre for Eco-cultural Studies (CES)

    Stanley Johnson
    Author and conservationist

    Dr Trevor Jones
    Southern Tanzania Elephant Project

    Paula Kahumbu, O.G.W
    Chief Executive Officer, Wildlife Direct

    Max and Josh Kauderer
    Founders, Elephant Highway

    Alan Knight OBE
    CEO, International Animal Rescue

    Peter Knights
    Executive Director, WildAid

    Hussein Lalani
    Ex-CEO, 99p

    James Littlewood
    Director, Natural History Society of Northumbria

    Joanna Lumley OBE

    Philip Mansbridge
    Director, UK – International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

    Struan McDougall
    Founder and trustee, The CCG Trust

    Virginia McKenna OBE Hon Dr Science
    Founder, Born Free Foundation
    and
    Will Travers
    President, Born Free Foundation

    Kate Moore
    Programmes Manager, Lilongwe Wildlife Trust

    Dr. Ciaran Mundy and Dominic Neate
    Trustees, One World Wildlife

    Ingrid E Newkirk
    Founder, PETA

    Graeme Oliver
    Director, Poached Rhino
    Asgar Pathan
    Executive Director, Care for the Wild Kenya

    Dr. Mark Pilgrim
    Director General, Chester Zoo, former chair UK Elephant Welfare Group

    Ian Redmond
    Independent wildlife biologist, Founder of the African Ele-Fund and Ambassador for the UNEP Convention on Migratory Species

    Mary Rice
    Executive Director, Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)

    Jo Roberts
    CEO, The Wilderness Foundation

    John Roberts
    Director of Elephants, Golden Triangle Elephant Foundation

    Jen Samuel
    President, Elephants DC

    Noor Santosian
    Founder, Africa Nomads Conservation

    John Sauven
    Executive Director, Greenpeace UK

    David Shepherd CBE
    Founder and President of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

    The Rt Revd Dr Alan Smith
    Bishop of St Albans

    Craig Spencer
    Founder and Executive Director, Black Mamba APU, Head Warden, Balule Nature Reserve

    Patsy Stagman
    Rhino Conservation Dubai

    Ian Stevenson
    CEO Conservation Lower Zambezi
    Yvette Taylor
    International Executive Director, Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization

    Janet Thomas
    Founder and Chairperson, Animal Aid Abroad Inc.

    Jaime Unwin and Hannah Pollock
    Co-Founders, Stand up for Nature

    Stéphanie Vergniault
    Chairman, SOS Elephants

    Rory Young
    Co-Founder, Chengeta Wildlife
    Members of UK Parliament:

    Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh
    MP, Ochil and South Perthshire

    David Anderson
    MP, Blaydon

    Clive Betts
    MP, Sheffield South East

    Alan Brown
    MP, Kilmarnock and Loudoun

    Nick Brown
    MP, Newcastle upon Tyne East

    Fiona Bruce
    MP, Congleton

    Lisa Cameron
    MP, East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow

    Alan Campbell
    MP, Tynemouth

    Alistair Carmichael
    MP, Orkney and Shetland

    Maria Caulfield
    MP, Lewes

    Mark Durkan
    MP, Derry

    Vicky Foxcroft
    MP, Lewisham Deptford

    Roger Godsiff
    MP, Birmingham Hall Green

    Zac Goldsmith
    MP, Richmond Park

    Helen Goodman
    MP, Bishop Auckland

    George Kerevan
    MP, East Lothian

    Chris Law
    MP, Dundee West

    Caroline Lucas
    MP, Brighton Pavilion

    Justin Madders
    MP, Ellesmere Port and Neston

    John Mann
    MP, Bassetlaw

    John McDonnell
    MP, Hayes and Harlington

    Grahame Morris
    MP, Easington

    Kate Osamor
    MP, Edmonton

    Andrew Rosindell
    MP, Romford

    Cat Smith
    MP, Lancaster and Fleetwood

    Jeff Smith
    MP, Manchester Withington

    John Spellar
    MP, Warley

    Members of the House of Lords:

    Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb

    Lord and Lady Judd

    Baroness (Ruth) Lister of Burtersett

    Lord Stoddart of Swindon

    Baroness Young of Old Scone

    Members of the European Parliament:

    Catherine Bearder
    MEP, South East England

    Dominique Bilde
    MEP, France

    Richard Corbitt
    MEP, Yorkshire and The Humber

    Seb Dance
    MEP, London

    Anneliese Dodds
    MEP, South East of England

    Stefan Eck
    MEP, Germany

    Bas Eickhout
    MEP, The Netherlands

    Neena Gill
    MEP, West Midlands

    Julie Girling
    MEP, South West England

    Jeppe Kofod
    MEP, Denmark

    Jean Lambert
    MEP, London

    David Martin
    MEP, The Lothians

    Marlene Mizzi
    MEP, Malta

    Pavel Poc
    MEP, Czech Republic

    Michèle Rivasi
    MEP, France

    Molly Scott Cato
    MEP, South West of England

    Bart Staes
    MEP, Belgium

    Keith Taylor
    MEP, South East Region

    Claude Turmes
    MEP, Luxembourg

    Ernest Urtasun
    MEP, Spain

    Ivo Vajgl
    MEP, Slovenia

     

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