New Zealand’s Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced a plan yesterday to change the law to help protect more than 35,000 endangered species internationally whose survival in the wild is threatened by unsustainable trade.
“The changes will be made by amending the Trade in Endangered Species Act 1989 to ban the domestic sale of elephant ivory in New Zealand, with some exemptions, and to improve the regulatory system at the border,” Sage said in a statement. “This is a big step forward in strengthening the management of international trade in endangered, threatened, and exploited species.”
Currently, New Zealand has no restrictions on domestic trade in elephant ivory, unlike the United States, United Kingdom, France, and China, which have already put bans in place.
The Trade in Endangered Species Act 1989 will need to be amended to implement the changes. However, the proposed law will only make its way into Parliament after the election, needing the support of the majority to pass.
“I am pleased to announce the proposal to ban the domestic sale of any items made with ivory from elephants killed after 1975, which is when elephants began to be protected from international trade under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES),” stated Sage. “The import and export of all elephant ivory is also proposed to be banned, with narrow exemptions to ensure elephant ivory items can still be traded by museums, for DNA testing, testing to determine age, and that antique musical instruments with correct permits can still be carried across the border.”
Other planned changes include improving the way the Act is implemented to ensure the regulatory system at the border efficiently and effectively manages international wildlife trade and stops illegal trade.
“The New Zealand market in ivory is small, but banning the sale of post-Convention elephant ivory in New Zealand will send a message that New Zealand does not want to receive elephant ivory that may have been poached or illegally traded,” noted Sage.
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