EBay is banning the sale of ivory products to help protect African and Asian elephants. The policy will go into effect in December and will be enforced starting in January, eBay Inc. said Monday.
"We simply can't ensure that ivory listed for sale on eBay is in compliance with the complex regulations that govern its sale," Richard Brewer-Hay wrote on the online auctioneer's blog eBay Ink.
Exceptions will be made for some items with small amounts of ivory, including pianos, but the items must have been made before 1900.
Items that have a large amount of ivory, regardless of their age, will not be permitted for sale. These would include chess sets and jewelry.
EBay banned cross-border sales of ivory products last year, but sales "continued to be a concern within the company and among stakeholders," Brewer-Hay said.
The company said it works with international and domestic law enforcement authorities like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and will help them in investigations they initiate.
The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International applauded the decision and said they first brought the issue to eBay after an investigation in 2002 discovered thousands of ivory items.
"EBay's decision to wash its hands of the uncontrollable, bloody ivory trade is commendable and should set an example for others," said Teresa Telecky, policy director for Humane Society International.