Ivory imports from hippopotamuses, orcas and walruses will be banned under new legislation to protect the endangered species from poaching.

The Ivory Act, passed in 2018, targeted materials from elephants, but a loophole meant that animals other than elephants, including hippos were being targeted for their ivory. After a consultation, ministers have decided to tighten the ban to include all ivory-bearing species, so these will not be poached to fill the gap in the trade left by the elephant ivory ban.

Ministers said the hippopotamus was the species most at risk from the trade in its ivory after elephants, and the other species were already threatened by the climate crisis. They added that continued trade in their ivory could exacerbate these threats and make their long-term survival less likely.

Charities welcomed the ban. Frances Goodrum, head of campaigns and programmes at the International Fund for Animal Welfare UK, said: “[We] are encouraged by early indications that the ban is having a significant impact on the trade in elephant ivory, yet other species are still poached globally to meet an unnecessary demand for ‘luxury’ ivory products, including the hippopotamus, walrus, narwhal, sperm whale and killer whale.

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