Elephant origami event draws support for ban on ivory trade in Thailand
Every day in the savannas and forests of Africa, elephants are gunned down for their ivory tusks. Across the continent, tens of thousands of these majestic animals are being slaughtered each year. This elephant poaching is driven primarily by demand for ivory in Asia, with Thailand the world’s biggest unregulated market for ivory.
Although it is against the law to sell ivory from African elephants and wild Asian elephants in Thailand, ivory from domestic Thai elephants may be sold legally. As a result, massive quantities of illegal African ivory are being laundered through Thai shops. To save Africa’s elephants it is essential that Thailand closes this legal loophole.
“While Thailand has made some progress, the only way now to fix this crisis situation is by banning all ivory sales in the country,” said Janpai Ongsiriwittaya, Illegal Wildlife Trade campaign leader in WWF-Thailand. “WWF is petitioning the Thai prime minister for an immediate ban on ivory trade. More than 400,000 people from Thailand and across the world who want a future for wild elephants have joined this call.”
The public event, held in Central World, includes a giant paper elephant constructed using the traditional Japanese art of paper folding, known as origami. The origami elephant is the largest ever built in Thailand. At the event, people will be instructed in how to create their own elephant origami and add their name in support of a ban on Thailand’s ivory trade.
“Demand for illegal ivory products could drive the species to extinction in Africa, and Thailand’s elephants could be next,” added Janpai Ongsiriwittaya. “Every voice counts in the fight to stop the slaughter and save an iconic species that we revere as sacred.”
Celebrities, including Varin Sachdev, Pip Ravit Terdwong, Nampung Natrarika Thampridanant, Note Watcharabul Leesuwan and Egg Busakorn Tantiphana, along with elephant conservationists and supporters, including former Senator, Kraisak Choonhavan, and founder of the Friends of the Asian Elephant foundation, Soraida Salwala, will also speak at the event, and a new video from high-profile supporters of the WWF-TRAFFIC campaign will be screened. The video clips include Pancake Khemanij Jamikorn, Palmy Eve Pancharoen, Stamp Apiwat Ueathavornsuk, Kay Chollada Mekratri, Utt Uttasada Panichkul, Noon Sirapun Wattanajinda, Tattoo Colour, DJ Darling Arada and Kang Kamikaze sharing their voices of concern to help stop the ivory trade in Thailand.
In March, representatives from 177 governments will meet in Bangkok to discuss global wildlife trade issues, including rampant elephant poaching in Africa. WWF is calling on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to use the opportunity to announce her country’s commitment to banning ivory trade in Thailand.
“While the eyes of the world are turned to Thailand, we need our Prime Minister to ban all ivory trade in Thailand to give elephants their best chance of survival,” added Janpai Ongsiriwittaya
Join the elephant origami event on Thursday 21 February at Eden Zone, 1st Floor, Central World, Bangkok from 3-5pm.
For further information, please contact:
Janpai Ongsiriwittaya, Wildlife Trade Campaign Manager, WWF Thailand. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel +66898119024
Ua-phan Chamnan-ua, Communications Manager, WWF Thailand. Email: email@example.com, Tel +66819282426
WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organisations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.
TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, works to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature. TRAFFIC’s global network is research-driven, action-oriented, and committed to delivering innovative and practical solutions based on the latest information. Consequently, TRAFFIC has acquired a reputation as a reliable and impartial leader in wildlife trade issues.