Singapore's government is contemplating a ban on the sale of ivory in Singapore.
This was announced by Minister of State for National Development Koh Poh Koon in Parliament on Wednesday, in response to a question by Nee Soon MP and wildlife society ACRES founder Louis Ng.
MND is currently working out the implementation details of making this happen, which will need to include an engagement process with relevant stakeholders, said Koh.
Currently, the commercial import and export of ivory in and out of Singapore is already illegal, while the trade of ivory for museum display and research purposes requires a prior permit from the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority (AVA).
Having said that, it is legal to buy ivory that dates back to before the ban on imports, which was enacted in 1990, so this complete ban will eliminate any possible sale of ivory in Singapore as it can be difficult to tell how old a piece of ivory is. Such ambiguity allows recently-poached ivory to masquerade as vintage ivory.
A complete ban on domestic sale of ivory will also signal "Singapore’s broader commitment to tackle the illegal ivory trade and to support elephant conservation", as Koh said.
Last year, the AVA also crushed and burnt 7900kg of illegal elephant ivory that was intercepted while en-route from Africa to Vietnam or Laos.
It was the first public destruction of seized ivory, done in order to prevent any from returning to the illegal wildlife trade market, sending a “strong message” that Singapore condemns illegal wildlife trade.
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