A campaign encouraging Belgians to voluntarily give up their unlicensed ivory has enabled its initiator, the Public Health Department, to collect 300 kilogrammes (kgs) of ivory or objects made of that material, the department said on Monday. The operation, known as Campaign “Sors tes dents” (Bare your Teeth) was launched on 15 May and ended on Sunday, 12 August. Belgians were invited between those dates to place their ivory objects in containers at the Pairi Daiza, Antwerp and Planckendael zoos.
This action netted 300 kgs of ivory, the department said. Additionally, many people have since contacted the federal public service to get rid of their ivory. All the ivory collected will be burned.
Anyone wishing to sell or buy ivory needs a certificate from Cites (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) proving that it dates back to before 1984 and/or was imported before 1990 with a permit. Largely because of Belgium’s colonial past, many Belgians keep objects brought into the country a long time ago without any document to show where they came from.
Others have bought ivory while on holiday without being aware that it was illegal. None of these objects may be sold.
Anyone who still wishes to contact the Cites Cell at the Public Health Department may do so.