Last February, WWF handed a global petition to the prime ministers of Thailand, Yingluck Shinawatra imploring for a ban of ivory trade. This symbolic gesture is to hope that the country would be able to reform its rule in order to put a halt in the case of wild African elephants being slaughtered.
During the handover of the petition, the prime minister claimed that law which regards to wildlife does exist in the country and elephants are considered as cultural animal. The issue raised by WWF will be taken into account for consideration.
During the event, the Thai government said that Yingluck Shinawatra will preside over the opening day of Convention of International Trades In Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) which will happen in Bangkok.
Being the host of the wildlife trade negotiation, WWF calls on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to take a bold action by banning the unregulated ivory trade that is happening in Thailand. The petition – which has over half million of signatures coming from different countries – is part of a WWF and TRAFFIC campaign in appealing the prime minister of Thailand to put the ivory trading in Thailand to halt.
According to legal Wildlife Trade campaign leader in WWF-Thailand, Janpai Ongsiriwittaya, if the Thai government does not take bold action upon this petition, and that means anything less than banning the ivory trade, the local elephants could be the next target for ivory trading.
In Thailand perse, the number of elephants that are still in the wild is similar to the number of elephants that are being killed in Africa every month which is around 2500 in order to fulfil the demand for ivory, he added.
According to CITES – host Thailand, the sale of ivory obtained from other countries is illegal however, the ivory obtained from domestic elephants is not against the law. Being able to identify the origins of the ivory is extremely difficult thus it acts as a loophole for illegal trading of ivories to penetrate the Thai market.
Most importantly, the country has been well known to be a place for international transportation and hubs. Without any doubt this allows the opportunity for black markets purchases to enter the country and buy the ivories. It will also facilitates for ivory trading as the ivories could be hidden in one of thousands containers stopped by the Thai port each day.
Although the Thai government has tried reforming the laws, no change can be seen. The reality that is happening in Thailand is that the country is still becoming a central hub for illegal ivory trading said Ongsiriwittaya.
The hollywood actor and activist, Leonardo Dicaprio even took a stand upon the illegal ivory trading by appealing the Thai prime minister to impose a ban on illegal ivory trade ahead of CITES.
WWF and TRAFIC has recently called on government CITES to consider formal trade restrictions to some of the leading offenders on illegal ivory trading in Thailand, Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria.
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