MEPs of all political affiliations asked on Wednesday for a complete ban on domestic ivory trade within to EU to protect wildlife.

The EU needs to close it domestic market to ivory trade to end elephant poaching, insisted MEPs in a debate questioning the Commission on its plans to make rules on ivory trade stricter.

The EU is the largest domestic market of ivory in the world, and is also the largest exporter of legal ivory, MEPs said. Yet, illegally poached ivory often gets into the legal market, making the elephants a lucrative target for poachers.

Poaching is furthermore linked to corruption, organised crime, the financing of armed groups and murders of park rangers, the MEPs remarked.

Background

The EU banned ivory imports from, and exports to, Asia in 1975 and Africa in 1990, and regulated domestic trade strictly. In May 2017, the Commission banned the export of raw ivory. Yet, unlike in the United States, China, Hong Kong and soon the UK, domestic trade in ivory is still legal in the EU.

Poachers kill an estimated 55 elephants every day, while illicit ivory trading has doubled since 2007.