Britain is set to introduce “one of the world’s toughest” bans on ivory sales in a bid to protect elephants for future generations, the country’s Environment Secretary announced Tuesday.
The prohibition will introduce tighter legislation covering ivory items of all ages, save for a few limited exceptions, the government said.
The penalty for violating the ban could be up to five years in prison.
“Ivory should never be seen as a commodity for financial gain or a status symbol.
“The ban will demonstrate our belief that the abhorrent ivory trade should become a thing of the past.” Environment Secretary Michael Gove said in a statement.
The UK proposal is the latest move in the global fight against the ivory trade.
In 2016, the United States adopted a near-total embargo but exempted ivory items older than a century and containing less than 50% ivory, the UK government said.
China enacted its own ban on the sale of ivory products at the start of the year, but it exempts ivory “relics”, according to the British government.
The UK claims its ban is stronger.