AsianScientist (Mar. 4, 2013) – Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra pledged on Sunday to end the ivory trade in Thailand, seizing a key opportunity to stem global wildlife trafficking.
Prime Minister Shinawatra said at the opening of the 16th Conference of Parties (CoP16) of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Bangkok that Thailand – currently the world’s second largest unregulated ivory market – would take steps to end ivory trade.
“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.”
But the fight is not over, said Carlos Drews head of WWF’s delegation to CITES, as the Prime Minister now needs to provide a timeline for this ban and ensure that it takes place as a matter of urgency, he said.
Thailand is currently the largest illegal ivory market behind China. Officials have certified 67 authorized ivory vendors, but market surveys have found ivory in more than 250 shops. Much of this ivory is purchased by foreign tourists.
The prime minister’s decision comes as WWF and TRAFFIC continue asking CITES governments to sanction countries fueling the global illegal wildlife trade.
Source: WWF; Photo: WWF Thailand.
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