Thailand destroys ivory stock to curb illegal trade

Thailand cracks down on illegal ivory trade by crushing more than two tonnes of seized elephant ivory in ceremony

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Thailand's ivory stuckpile destroyed by government

Bangkok officials destroyed and burned tons of ivory worth more than $2.8 million on Wednesday, in a ceremony led by Thai Prime Minister Prayu Chan-O-Cha.

"This is to show the Thai government's strong determination to oppose ivory trafficking and that Thailand will comply with international rules," said Chan-O-Cha during the event.

While majority of the ivory stock destroyed was obtained through legal trade, the remaining 540 kilograms has been granted to museums, government institutions and universities for educational purposes.

The government has sparked public awareness movements, intended to cease ivory from being smuggled in and out of the country.

Thailand is the most important location for African ivory smuggling in Asia, and there has been increased international pressure to stop the illegal trade.

Nipon Chotiban, Director General of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation said the ceremony was a first for Thailand because they adhered to the agreement and cooperated with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

"Our intention is to show CITES that Thailand is determined to solve the problem of underground ivory trade, especially African ivory and turn it into accessories, " said Chotiban.

However, he also added that "There will be a lot of economic impact if CITES bans Thailand’s black market trade. Ten of thousands of workers in several businesses will be in trouble, for example those in orchid trade. We are trying to show CITES and international communities that Thailand is determined to solve the problem".

The ivory trade was forbidden in 1989, but this did not stop the smugglers from providing for the huge demand that comes from China and Vietnam.



TRTWorld and agencies