Successful ivory prosecution

31 October 2014

Intelligence from World Animal Protection leads to successful ivory prosecution

Intelligence obtained by our Investigative Affairs team has resulted in the very first prosecution of an auctioneer in the UK for illegally selling ivory. This landmark case saw Chiswick Auctions plead guilty for selling an ivory tusk that was carved as a train of elephants. The auction house was fined £3,205. 

As part of our partnership with the Metropolitan Police Wildlife Crime Unit, we shared intelligence about the carved elephant tusk which was for sale in Portobello Road, London.

During police investigations it transpired that Chiswick Auctions had sold this item with another to a stallholder for £290, claiming it dated back to the Edwardian period.  However, our suspicions were confirmed when forensic testing revealed the ivory came from an elephant that had been killed during the 1960’s. Under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), it is illegal to trade ivory which has been harvested or modified after 1947.

An Investigative Affairs spokesperson said "This successful prosecution is a reflection of our wider engagement work with the law enforcement sector internationally. An example of how quality intelligence obtained by Investigative Affairs can result in direct enforcement action in support of a key UK campaign.” 

Campaign’s manager, Alyx Elliott said of the case, “We welcome the news of this successful prosecution and we are glad to have been able to assist in the case. This case illustrates that wildlife crimes will not be tolerated and we are hopeful that the fine will deter other auction houses from selling items without the proper certification.” 

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