By Ramzy Alwakeel
Police hoping to stamp out the illegal trade of animal parts seized a dried elephant's foot this morning.
Waltham Forest officers tweeted this picture of the amputated appendage, which has leathery skin and huge yellow nails, after "an attempt was made to sell it online".
It is not known how old the foot is. The law permits the sale of taxidermy and ivory that is a certain age, although in some circumstances special licences are required.
According to the International Fund for Animal Welfare, British websites hosted 1,087 online ads for animals or animal parts in 2014, the lion's share of them on eBay.
The charity's UK director Philip Mansbridge said: “We are shocked anyone would want to buy an elephant’s foot when elephants are being killed in their tens of thousands, and we welcome the swift action of the police.
“Why anyone would want to own a body part of a sentient, majestic animal like an elephant defies belief. Only when there is no more demand for elephant products will there be no value in killing these animals in the wild.
“The internet poses a huge threat to wildlife as it provides an enormous market for selling endangered animals and their body parts. We congratulate the Metropolitan Police on their continued commitment to strong enforcement of any potential wildlife cybercrime.”
Associate director of Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) Elisa Allen told the Standard the item was "a relic of a bygone era when it was common to make umbrella stands out of elephants' feet".
She added: "Britons rightfully condemn the killing of any endangered animals, as do most people throughout the world, but we also need to take a long hard look at how we support the cruel treatment of other animals - particularly elephants - in other industries.
"We may not have the power to stop the whole trade of endangered species overseas, but we do have the power to help these animals by refusing to play a part in the industries that exploit them."