London — Britain will ban sales of ivory in a bid to help preserve the world’s dwindling elephant population, its government announced on Tuesday. The ban covers ivory items of all ages, with an unlimited fine or five years in jail the maximum penalty for breaching the ban. The decision, which must be approved by parliament, comes after a consultation in which 88% of the 70,000 respondents were in favour of such a ban. "Ivory should never be seen as a commodity for financial gain or a status symbol, so we will introduce one of the world’s toughest bans on ivory sales to protect elephants for future generations," environment secretary Michael Gove said. "The ban on ivory sales we will bring into law will re-affirm the UK’s global leadership on this critical issue, demonstrating our belief that the abhorrent ivory trade should become a thing of the past." Britain said the international illegal wildlife trade was estimated to be worth up to £17bn ($24bn). The number of elephants has de...

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