From 1 January, eBay is going to ban the sale of ivory via its website.

The e-commerce website has taken action after a conservation group claimed that it had found more than 4000 illegal elephant ivory listings by eBay sellers.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) found items which included stools made from elephant feet, a cheetah rug, which was sold for $154.48 as well as ivory tusks.

One pair was sold on eBay for over $21,000.

"We found over 1,000 items from endangered animals every week", Jeff Flocken, director of the IFAW's Washington DC office, told Reuters.

"It may just represent the tip of the iceberg of the trade going on on the Internet."

eBay responded by opting to ban the sale ivory and stated: "We feel this is the best way to protect the endangered and protected species from which a significant portion of ivory products are derived".

It is, however, still going to allow sellers to flog some pre-1900 items that contain a small amount of ivory.