The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has voiced its support for AVA’s proposal on a total ban on ivory in Singapore, highlighting that “Singapore’s ban will be the world’s most robust and stringent”.
Kim Stengert, chief strategic communications and external relations, WWF-Singapore said: “Singapore’s proposed ban carries global significance given our role as a transhipment hub – including for illegal wildlife trade. A stringent ban will impact and deter organised criminal syndicates behind the ivory trade and elephant poaching crisis. This move demonstrates Singapore’s strong leadership in addressing the ivory trade, and is a clear signal that Singapore does not tolerate illegal wildlife crime, trafficking and trade.”
As part of AVA’s public consultation process, WWF has outlined recommendations for the rollout and enforcement of the ban. If implemented in full, these measures could position Singapore’s ivory ban as the world’s most robust and stringent, making a real difference to elephant populations.
The recommendations are:
-To put measures in place to handle the current ivory stock of existing retailers to prevent stockpiling.
-Increase penalties for ivory and other illegal wildlife traders, matching the gravity of the crime
-Deploy adequate government resources to ensure effective enforcement of the ban
-Limit the grace period for ivory retailers to one year, instead of three.
According to WWF, the global trade in elephant ivory claims one African elephant every 25 minutes. The global ivory trade re-emerged in late 2000s despite an international trade ban on ivory that has been in place since 1990. 20% of African elephant populations have been lost in the last 10 years. To stop the global elephant poaching crisis, WWF-Singapore has been calling for a domestic ban in elephant ivory and stronger deterrent penalties and enforcement measures in Singapore, as well as close cooperation within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for united action against the illegal ivory and wildlife trade.
To garner awareness over the issue, WWF created a fictitious online brand called Ivory Lane, which was later unveiled as a PR campaign by the WWF to prompt awareness of the global trade in elephant ivory. In a press statement, WWF said it set up a fictitious online ivory shop, Ivory Lane, to raise awareness on the fact that elephant ivory remains legal for sale in Singapore under certain conditions.
The stunt prompted a strong public outcry over the past week, reaching 250,000 people and garnering 65,000 reactions within six days. The stunt sparked off a heated public debate on wildlife trade on social media, national legislation and enforcement in Singapore. An online website created for the fictitious store now links back to the WWF site. On social media, netizens shared their disdain for the practice.
(Photo courtesy: WWF Singapore)