In the wake of calls for the destruction of antique ivory, The Metropolitan Police Wildlife Crime Unit is asking Londoners to bring in ‘family heirlooms’ made from elephant ivory and other endangered species.
Operation Charm, launched on July 9 in partnership with six charities including the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the World Wildlife Fund, is designed to raise awareness of the illegal trade.
DC Sarah Bailey from the Metropolitan Police Wildlife Crime Unit (WCU) said: "We are asking the public to take any unwanted items they may have bought over the years to their local police station so they can be destroyed or used to educate people about the illegal trade in animal parts and its impact on species in the wild.
"People may have unwanted wildlife products, such as family heirlooms or souvenirs from trips abroad that they no longer want but are unsure how to dispose of them. The sorts of items might include ivory carvings, rhino horn, big cat skins and furs, tortoiseshell, reptile skin accessories and taxidermy of endangered species."
The WCU comprises a small team of specialist officers and staff. They deal not only with local wildlife crime but also national and international problems that can affect London.
Earlier this year the Duke of Cambridge sparked controversy with his suggestion that the Royal family's 1200-piece collection of ivory works of art should be destroyed to send a message to ivory 'consumers'. In an open letter to the prince published in ATG, David Battie, the longest-serving expert on Antiques Roadshow, said: "I do not think that this wholesale destruction would move the progress of the campaign one iota."