The idea is to remove from circulation those items made from elephant ivory and other endangered species that cannot legally be sold.
In a statement, NAVA said that “participation in the scheme is a pro-active demonstration that you fully support the various initiatives in the UK and worldwide to preserve elephants and other endangered wildlife”.
The desire is to prevent a scenario where unworked or post-1947 ivory is acquired by “unscrupulous traders [who] buy or otherwise obtain ivory items and illegally export them to countries, where they can be reworked and sold on for profit”, NAVA said. The many poorly carved souvenir objects produced in Africa and the Indian subcontinent in the post-war era are a focus of the initiative.
In return for the submission of any items, the Border Force CITES team will provide a Notice of Seizure before the matter is concluded.
The Home Office says any pieces deemed to be of historical or cultural significance will be offered to national collections with others retained for training purposes and public awareness displays.
The remainder will “go into storage and are likely to be destroyed in due course as they cannot be retained indefinitely”, a spokesperson for Border Force said.
‘A scheme for everyone’
Colin Young, NAVA president, told ATG that while the initiative has been formulated by Border Force and NAVA, “it is a scheme for everyone. We hope that anyone, private or trade, holding unwanted objects that are illegal to be sold – that is, objects less than 70 years old – will help us take them out of circulation.
“We would commend other professional associations and trade bodies to adopt the scheme themselves for so many positive reasons, including this demonstration of commitment to conservation.”