Ivory Crush: Thailand Destroys Illegal Ivory, Too
Thailand recently destroyed over two tons of elephants tusks, carved ivory and trinkets to send a message of the country's zero tolerance for wildlife crime and to enforce important laws passed to crack down on the illegal ivory trade. According to the World Wildlife Fund, most of the ivory that was destroyed was from elephants poached in Africa, which pass through Thailand.
"Thailand's ivory destruction is more than just a symbolic event since it follows a series of important steps that the country has taken to tackle illegal ivory trade in the past year," said Janpai Ongsiriwittaya with the organization World Wildlife Fund (WWF), in a statement. "For too long Thailand has been exploited by wildlife criminals as both a gateway and marketplace for ivory poached in Africa and Asia. This event aligns the commitment of the Thai government and the will of the Thai people with the global priority of stopping the illegal ivory trade."
Every year, poachers kill roughly 30,000 African elephants for their ivory to be traded to countries like Thailand, according to the WWF. For years, Thailand was the world's largest unregulated ivory market. During this past April alone, Thai Customs seized more than seven tons of illegal African ivory, said this release.
Thailand also passed several new regulations earlier this year, stating that owners of domesticated, privately owned Asian elephants had to register their animals and all ivory had to be registered by April 21, which resulted in over 220 tons of elephant ivory being reported by more than 44,000 Thais. African elephants were also made a protected species in Thailand. The country then sent a signal of its determination to tackle ivory trafficking and wildlife crime in July by co-sponsoring a historic UN General Assembly resolution to address illegal wildlife trade.
"Considerable progress has been made this year but there will be challenges ahead with implementing these new regulations, clamping down on illegal traders and reducing demand," Ongsiriwittaya added in the release.
Regarding Thailand's destruction of its illegal ivory, John E. Scanlon, Secretary-General for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) noted in a statement that the event raises further local, national and global awareness about the devastating impacts of illegal trade in elephant ivory and the ongoing determination of Thailand and the global community to put an end to it.
The survival of the African elephant is important to many, which is why countries such as Thailand are taking the initiative to reduce poaching and smuggling of illegal ivory.
More information regarding illegal trade of ivory and other elephant products can be found online.
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