The majority of British people back a total ban on ivory sales in the UK to tackle elephant poaching, according to a poll.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove announced plans in October to bring in legislation which would prohibit the trade of “antique” items.
Existing rules prohibit the sale of raw ivory of any age but allow worked or carved items produced before March 3, 1947 to be sold in the UK.
Under the new proposals, sales of the older worked items would be banned.
There would be exemptions for some items such as pianos with ivory keys and artefacts with significant historic, artistic or cultural value.
A Kantar TNS poll, commissioned by a group of nine leading wildlife organisations, found the majority of British people (57 per cent) back a total ivory ban including historic artefacts.
Only 27 per cent of respondents said that some items containing small amounts of ivory should be exempt.
A government consultation is due to close on December 29 and conservation groups have urged the public to make their voices heard.
Charlie Mayhew, chief executive of Tusk, said: “The UK market drives demand for ivory and fuels the illegal slaughter of elephants. The only way to combat this destruction of Africa’s natural heritage is to shut down ivory markets.
“It is clear that the public do not want ministers to allow any loopholes that would create a hiding place for the illegal trade, which is why we are opposing the proposed exemption allowing the sale of items of artistic, cultural or historic significance.
"If a piece is so important, it belongs in a museum not the marketplace.”