It might help ellies but the ivory ban ‘is killing hippos’

World

It might help ellies but the ivory ban ‘is killing hippos’

Smugglers are now focusing on hippo tusks and teeth as the law shuts down trade in elephant tusks

Helena Horton

The elephant ivory ban is killing hippos, conservationists have said, as poachers and hunters take advantage of a loophole in new laws.

The Ivory Act, which will come into force later in 2019 in the UK, was championed by Michael Gove, the British environment secretary, but conservationists argue that it puts hippos at grave risk since the import of their tusks will still be legal.

Hippo ivory, which resembles that of an elephant, is being increasingly traded globally, with 12,847 hippo teeth and tusks, weighing 3,326kg, bought and sold in 2018. Trade increased from 273 items in 2007 to 6,113 in 2011. Records show that in 2007 just four hippo tusks and skulls made it back to the UK. By 2017 that number had jumped to 18. This does not include the many items that incorporate hippo tusk, such as ornaments, furniture and musical instruments, which do not have to be registered with authorities because they are legally traded...

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