A BAN on the sale of almost all ivory in the UK has been welcomed by a Bolton MP.

Chris Green says that the newly-announced Government plans will be vital in protecting elephants.

The Bolton West MP said: “This announcement is very welcome news and puts our country right at the front of global efforts to combat the terrible decline in elephants.

“This is just one of a number of initiatives we are taking on animal welfare – including banning microbeads, increasing sentencing for animal cruelty and putting CCTVs in abattoirs.”

About 20,000 elephants are being slaughtered annually due to the global demand in ivory and if current rates of poaching continue, the animals could become extinct within decades in some African countries, experts warn.

The plans will be subject to a 12-week consultation.