Gerald Jones MP recently attended an event in Parliament organised by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Dr Rupa Huq MP prior to her parliamentary debate on the illegal wildlife trade. As part of the event MPs were shown an innovative ivory fingerprinting kit developed by the Metropolitan Police, King’s College and IFAW. He took part in a demonstration of the kit which is being used to catch ivory poachers and was able to have his fingerprints taken.
IFAW has now provided more than 80 of these special fingerprint kits to 16 countries. Fifteen of these kits have been successfully deployed in Kenya with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and police as part of the ‘tenBoma’ intelligence-led anti-poaching project run by IFAW and KWS. The kits have already been used to gather evidence which has led to 15 arrests, including five Police officers and the seizure of 11 elephant tusks and 50 pieces of worked ivory.
The Government recently announced that it had received more than 70,000 responses to its ivory ban consultation, one of the largest ever public responses to a Defra consultation, with the overwhelming majority analysed so far supportive of a ban. The Government has yet to publish the results of this consultation. IFAW is calling for a clear timetable showing how quickly an ivory ban will be introduced in the UK.
Speaking after the event, Gerald Jones MP said:
“If we are to save elephants in the wild we must act now before it is too late. I am pleased to support IFAW’s vital work to tackle ivory poaching, from using cutting edge technology to campaigning for a UK ivory ban.
We must remember that each piece of ivory represents a dead elephant, shot or poisoned for its tusks.
More and more people recognise that ivory should only be valued on a live elephant. We hope the Government will introduce an ivory ban in the UK before the forthcoming Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference being hosted in London in October.”
David Cowdrey, Head of Policy & Campaigns at IFAW, said: “Any strategy to tackle the illegal wildlife trade needs to ensure that you are addressing the issues at every level. IFAW supports anti-poaching rangers on the ground, campaigns to close down ivory markets and works to reduce consumer demand, but only by having effective law enforcement and forensic techniques can we ensure we gather the evidence that will catch the organised criminal gangs still killing thousands of elephants every year.
“We are grateful to Gerald Jones MP for showing his support today. With elephant populations at an all-time low and the species facing extinction due to the ivory poaching crisis we need a UK ivory ban in place as soon as possible, as time is the one thing elephants don’t have.”