Elephant tusks
Elephant tusks, part of an estimated 105 tonnes of confiscated ivory to be set ablaze, are stacked onto pyres at Nairobi National Park near Nairobi, Kenya REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Singapore, which recently celebrated its 54th National Day, has decided to ban the domestic trade of elephant ivory from September 1, 2021.

The announcement was made by the National Parks Board (NParks) on Monday. The authority mentioned that the elephant ivory sale and ivory products, as well as the public display of such items for the purpose of selling them, will be prohibited in the Republic after September 1, 2021.

"Public display of elephant ivory or ivory products for educational or religious purposes will continue to be permitted. Similarly, those who own musical instruments and personal effects like birdcages that contain ivory may continue to use them in public," said NParks.

In a statement, NParks stated that this nationwide ban highlights this country's resolve in the fight against illegal trade in species listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

It should be noted that the Republic is a signatory to CITES, under which international trade in elephant ivory has been banned since 1990.

After the ban is in effect, traders can only donate their stock to institutions for educational purposes or keep them. Meanwhile, NParks will continue to work with them to ensure a smooth transition.

In the statement, the NParks stated that since 2017, Singapore government has conducted several engagements with the public, including non-government organizations and ivory retailers for their reviews and feedback to put a blanket ban on its trading.

Between November to December 2018, a public consultation was also held on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) portal and the results showed that 99 per cent of feedback received through REACH were supportive of the blanket ban.

The Director-General at Wildlife Trade Control, Dr Leong Chee Chiew said, "It is time that we are announcing the domestic ban of trade in ivory on World Elephant Day. NParks, as the national authority that enforces CITES in Singapore, is committed to stopping the trade of elephant ivory and its products for the conservation and protection of the world's elephants."

"This is aligned with the views shared by the community who are similarly concerned about the impact that trades in elephant ivory has on the animal's population numbers. Thus, local retailers will need to observe the ban in ivory trade when it comes into effect on 1 September 2021."

For more information on the ivory trade ban, visit the official website www.nparks.gov.sg/biodiversity/cites/domestic-trade-ban-in-ivory, or write to NParks at cites@nparks.gov.sg.

Those who require assistance to dispose off their stock can contact NParks at cites@nparks.gov.sg.