Ivory ban to be extended to five other animals

It could soon be against the law to trade ivory from a hippopotamus, walrus, narwhal, killer whale and sperm whale.

That's because the government plans to extend the Ivory Act 2018, which came into force last year to protect elephants, to these animals as well.

Ivory is a material found in many animals tusks and horns, which is very valuable and is often sold for a lot of money.

Naturalist and TV presenter Steve Backshall said: "This is an important moment in the conservation of these iconic species. There is widespread public support for the ivory ban and today by extending it further we are sending a clear message that there is no place in the UK for this vile trade."

Punishment for breaking the law means an unlimited fine or up to five years in jail.

Members of Parliament must vote on the extension of the Act before it can come into force.

Frances Goodrum, from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) charity said it was encouraging to see that the ban is having a significant impact on the trade in elephant ivory.

But wildlife campaigners have also warned that the ban on elephant ivory trafficking had led to an increase in trade of hippo teeth.

Ms Goodrum said: "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.

"Today is a good day for conservation and a step change towards international commitments to safeguard our natural world."