The Metropolitan Police Service Wildlife Crime Unit, in partnership with animal welfare and conservation NGOs, has announced a call for Londoners to donate items made from elephant ivory and other wildlife products from endangered species.

The call for donations will run across London police stations until the end of the month and is supported by actor Ricky Gervais.

“This is an opportunity for Londoners to show their support and to protect animals from the illegal wildlife trade by giving away any unwanted items made from endangered species such as elephants, tigers and rhinos,” says Ricky Gervais, an active animal supporter.

DC Sarah Bailey, Metropolitan Police Wildlife Crime Unit, adds: “Members of the public are encouraged to take unwanted items to their local police station, so that the items can be destroyed or used for educating the public about the illegal trade in animal parts and its impact on species in the wild.”

The call comes from Operation Charm, a partnership between the Met Police Wildlife Crime Unit and NGOs to combat the illegal trade in endangered species in London. The call for donations of ivory and other endangered wildlife products is a positive and supportive response to the declaration made to combat illegal wildlife trade at the Government-hosted London Conference held in February 2014.

At the Conference, Heads of State, Ministers and high-level representatives of 41 countries discussed the illegal wildlife trade and its effect on species such as elephants, tigers and rhinos, recognising the importance of tackling wildlife crime at an international level. The conference highlighted that reducing consumer demand for illegal wildlife products, in addition to strengthening law enforcement and the criminal justice system, are key tools in combating the illegal trade.

DC Bailey continued: “Many people may have unwanted wildlife products such as family heirlooms or souvenirs from trips abroad that they no longer wish to own or sell but are unsure how to dispose of them. Items could include ivory carvings, rhino horn, big cat skins and furs, tortoiseshell, reptile skin accessories, taxidermy of endangered species, amongst others.”

DS Adam Dean from the WCU added: “If anyone has any information regarding wildlife crime in the capital please contact us 0207 230 8898 or wildlife@met.police.co.uk or anonymously at Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

Facts about the Illegal Wildlife Trade

· The illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth more than £11.5billion globally
· One elephant is killed every fifteen minutes
· Rhino poaching increased over 7500% between 2007 and 2013
· There are as few as 3,200 tigers remaining in the wild, and trade in their parts and products is a major threat.

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