BANGKOK (AP) — An international conservation group on Tuesday urged Thailand to ban all ivory trading, warning that rising demand for tusks is fueling an unprecedented slaughter of elephants in Africa.

The World Wildlife Fund said "massive quantities" of African ivory are being imported illegally into Thailand, where they are carved into Buddhist statues, bangles and jewelry that are then sold to tourists or smuggled elsewhere. Although it is against the law to sell African tusks in Thailand, ivory from domesticated elephants can be traded legally.

"Many foreign tourists would be horrified to learn that ivory trinkets on display next to silks in Thai shops may come from elephants massacred in Africa," said Elisabeth McLellan, manager of WWF's Global Species Program. "It is illegal to bring ivory back home and it should no longer be on sale in Thailand."

The U. N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, banned all international ivory trade in 1989. But Thai traders and smugglers have thrived because the ban never addressed the domestic markets, and without DNA testing, it is difficult to tell where ivory originated.

Criminal networks have exploited that loophole to flood Thai shops with "blood ivory from Africa," the World Wildlife Fund said.

"The only way to prevent Thailand from contributing to elephant poaching is to ban all ivory sales," said Janpai Ongsiriwittaya, campaign leader for WWF in Thailand. "Today the biggest victims are African elephants, but Thailand's elephants could be next."

Africa is in the midst of a crisis that saw tens of thousands of elephants slaughtered last year alone. According to the World Wildlife Fund, the international trade in ivory has reached its "highest ever recorded rate."

Poaching is up because of increasing demand from Asia — particularly from China. But poor African villagers also have much to gain; they can collect vast sums relative to their normal earning power for killing an elephant and taking its tusks.

On Tuesday, the group launched a global petition drive urging Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to ban the trade to curb illegal killings on the African continent.

Thai authorities said Tuesday that the government did not plan to impose a ban at present, adding that Thailand has established some measures that could help tackle the problem.

"It is not doable to ban all ivory trading at the moment," said Theerapat Prayurasiddhi, deputy director-general of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation. "This is because in the case of domesticated elephants, it's within the owner's rights to do what he wishes with the remains of an elephant after its death. Therefore, we cannot prohibit them from selling the tusks."

He said Thailand has tackled the illegal ivory trade through the registration of shops and businesses and detailed records of sales.

"We are also urging traders not to sell ivory to foreign buyers, who will likely bring it out of the country and therefore violate the CITES agreement," Theerapat said.

In March, representatives from governments worldwide are expected to attend a CITES meeting in Bangkok to discuss wildlife issues, including rampant elephant poaching.

About News.net

Publishing Services International Limited (PSIL) is the publisher and operator of a worldwide network of online news sites dedicated to delivering fair, accurate and relevant reporting from a variety of the world’s most trusted sources – from the biggest cities to the smallest towns.

We deliver positive and powerful messages to our readers, providing up‑to‑the‑second news that matters to the individual.

Our promise is to serve communities and individuals worldwide, delivering information that hasn’t always been available to them. We will give them back a voice – a voice that’s empowering because it is theirs – and provide a platform to communicate between themselves and the world.

We believe people are not just generic demographics; they are individuals with their own preferences and curiosities. We are about understanding these individuals, listening to them, and serving them.

We are the new pioneering spirit of news – we’re not talking to everyone, we’re talking with every one.

If you want your news, your voice, your way, on your time – we’ve got news for you.

 

FAQs

Email

If you have any questions or concerns please email us on support@news.net

Phone

  • Australia, Toll Free 1-800-983-421
  • Hong Kong, Toll Free 800-906-187
  • Singapore, Toll Free 800-852-3871
  • USA/Canada, Toll Free 1-800-830-4132

Advertise With Us

Interested in being awesome?
Contact us by email or phone.

Cancel