The government will ban the sale of elephant ivory in Singapore completely from September 1, 2021.
The ban, announced on Monday, Aug. 12, will also cover the public display of elephant ivory and ivory products for the purpose of sale.
Under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), of which Singapore is a signatory, international trade in elephant ivory has been banned since 1990.
However, the local sale of ivory is still permitted, if vendors can prove that their ivory was imported before 1990, or were acquired before elephants were categorised as endangered species by CITES.
Certain ivory products not for sale exempt from ban
When the ban kicks in about two years from now, traders will have to either donate their ivory to institutions for educational purposes, or keep them.
The public display of ivory for educational or religious purposes will continue to be permitted.
Musical instruments or personal effects such as bird cages that might be made of or contain ivory will also be exempted from the ban.
According to the National Parks Board (NParks), which announced this, those who wish to dispose of their ivory stock may contact them for assistance.
Complete ban supported by 99% of population
The banning of ivory trade was first raised in parliament in 2017, and the government has been mulling over the issue since then.
Stakeholder engagements with the public, including ivory retailers, were conducted for their views and comments with regards to the proposed ban.
In a public consultation conducted between Nov. and Dec. 2018, 99 per cent of the public supported a blanket ban of ivory.
Once the ban is in effect, anyone found to have offered ivory for sale, or for public display for the purpose of sale, will have committed an offence under the Endangered Species (Import & Export) Act.
If convicted, one can be fined up to $10,000 per specimen, not exceeding $100,000, and/or up to 12 months' imprisonment.
Top image by ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images