Thailand Promises to End Ivory Trade

Goodlifer: Thailand Promises to End Ivory Trade

At the opening of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Bangkok, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra pledged to start a legislative process that will outlaw ivory trade in Thailand.

Thailand's Prime Minister addresses delegates at the opening of CITES CoP16. Photo: © WWF / Christiaan Van Der Hoeven

Thailand’s Prime Minister addresses delegates at the opening of CITES CoP16. Photo: WWF / Christiaan Van Der Hoeven

“As a next step we will forward amending the national legislation with the goal of putting an end on ivory trade and to be in line with international norms,” Prime Minster Shinawatra said. “This will help protect all forms of elephants including Thailand’s wild and domestic elephants and those from Africa.”

Rangers and local communities are often caught in the crossfire of wildlife crime. Rangers like Mba Ndong Marious in Gabon have to face dangerous gangs of armed poachers to save their elephants. Photo: WWF / James Morgan

Rangers and local communities are often caught in the crossfire of wildlife crime. Rangers like Mba Ndong Marious in Gabon have to face dangerous gangs of armed poachers to save their elephants. Photo: WWF / James Morgan

This is the first time the Thai government has made a public statement on the issue of ivory trade, and it came after a petition calling on Thailand to ban its ivory trade was signed by nearly 1.5 million supporters of WWF, Avaaz and, yes, Leonardo DiCaprio.

At least one rhino is killed every day due to the mistaken belief that rhino horn can cure diseases like cancer and treat a variety of ailments including fever, blood disorders and hangovers. Photo: naturepl.com / Mark Carwardine / WWF-Canon

At least one rhino is killed every day due to the mistaken belief that rhino horn can cure diseases like cancer and treat a variety of ailments including fever, blood disorders and hangovers. Photo: naturepl.com / Mark Carwardine / WWF-Canon

Poaching has escalated to crisis levels in recent years, and is a major threat to iconic species such as elephants, rhinos and tigers. Ending ivory trade in Thailand — currently the world’s largest unregulated ivory market — will go a long way in stemming a global poaching crisis that is leading to the slaughter of tens of thousands of elephants each year and fuelling a global criminal trade in animal parts.

Every part of the tiger—from whisker to tail—is traded in illegal wildlife markets and used for traditional medicine, folk remedies, and increasingly as a status symbol among wealthy Asians. Photo: naturepl.com / Edwin Giesbers / WWF-Canon

Every part of the tiger—from whisker to tail—is traded in illegal wildlife markets and used for traditional medicine, folk remedies, and increasingly as a status symbol among wealthy Asians. Photo: naturepl.com / Edwin Giesbers / WWF-Canon

Tens of thousands of elephants are killed every year for their ivory tusks. In 1989, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) banned the international trade in ivory. However, there are still some thriving but unregulated domestic ivory markets in a number of countries, which fuel an illegal international trade.

Tens of thousands of elephants are killed every year for their ivory tusks. In 1989, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) banned the international trade in ivory. However, there are still some thriving but unregulated domestic ivory markets in a number of countries, which fuel an illegal international trade.

However, there is still much more work to be done. “The fight to stop wildlife crime and shut down Thailand’s ivory markets is not over,” says Carlos Drews, head of WWF’s delegation to CITIES. “Prime Minister Shinawatra now needs to provide a timeline for this ban and ensure that it takes place as a matter of urgency, because the slaughter of elephants continues.”

Charismatic species like tigers are a huge tourist draw and are an important source of revenue in many countries. Here, a Bengal tiger crosses the road in front of watching tourists at Bandhavgarh National Park in India. Photo: naturepl.com / Tony Heald / WWF-Canon

Charismatic species like tigers are a huge tourist draw and are an important source of revenue in many countries. Here, a Bengal tiger crosses the road in front of watching tourists at Bandhavgarh National Park in India. Photo: naturepl.com / Tony Heald / WWF-Canon

Many other countries have yet to take crucial steps toward banning this illegal trade. What can you do? We need to show that these endangered animals are worth more alive than dead. Don’t remain silent — sign petitions and join WWF’s campaign to help Stop Wildlife Crime to learn how you can take action against the most urgent threats to elephants, rhinos and tigers. These magnificent animals deserve better than to fall victims to our fashion whims and vanities.

[via WWF]

About author
A designer by trade, Johanna has always had a passion for storytelling. Born and raised in Sweden, she's lived and worked in Miami, Brooklyn and, currently, Ojai, CA. She started Goodlifer in 2008 to offer a positive outlook for the future and share great stories, discoveries, thoughts, tips and reflections around her idea of the Good Life. Johanna loves kale, wishes she had a greener thumb, and thinks everything is just a tad bit better with champagne (or green juice).
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