April 5, 2011 10:31 AM

Cheadle MP Mark Hunter has shown his support for elephants by backing the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)'s ivory surrender at an event in Westminster.

Mr Hunter attended IFAW's campaign launch at the House of Commons and was pictured with huge elephant tusks. He is calling on members of the public to send in any unwanted items of ivory they may have to IFAW to ensure they do not end up back on the commercial market, and to highlight the illegal ivory trade.

Commenting, Mark said:

"I am pleased to be backing the ivory surrender, and urge my constituents to send in unwanted items of ivory to IFAW and back their campaign for greater protection for elephants."

Shockingly, new Ipsos MORI polling shows that more than four in 10 adults in the North West are unaware that elephants have to die before their ivory can be obtained, while almost four million British residents are owners of ivory[i].

Robbie Marsland, Director of IFAW UK, said:

"Every piece of ivory represents a dead elephant. We are therefore very grateful to Mark for showing his commitment to elephant protection. That is why we are holding a UK-wide ivory surrender to help raise awareness of the threats facing elephants and to encourage the UK Government to push its pledge to press for a ban of ivory sales internationally."

The global illegal trade in wildlife is estimated to be worth £12 billion annually, second only to the illicit trade in drugs and arms. Ivory forms a significant part of this. Seizures of illegal ivory are skyrocketing and recent stockpile sales to Japan and China sent a signal to poachers that it is open season on elephants.

Anyone who would like to donate ivory to the surrender can email [email protected] or call 020 7587 6709. Further information about the campaign can be found at

[i] Using ONS 2009 mid-year estimates, the GB population aged 15+ is 49,564,800. A total of 8% say they own items made of ivory, equating to nearly 4 million people. Based on a confidence interval of approx +/- 1.3% and the sample size of 2,023 the actual number could vary between c3.3 and 4.6 million adults aged 15+.

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