Thailand to join world leaders in tackling wildlife crime

Posted on 07 February 2014  | 
Thailand, 7th February 2014: The Government of Thailand is expected to attend a Conference being held next week in London, UK, where up to 50 Heads of State and other Senior Representatives from across the world will devise ways to address the illegal trade in wildlife products such as elephant ivory. Delegates will discuss ways to combat the current poaching crisis affecting several of the world’s iconic wildlife species, including elephant, tigers and rhinos.

WWF and TRAFFIC hope that Thai government delegates attending the London Conference will endorse and formally adopt a London Conference Declaration representing a statement of political commitment to address the crisis.

Issues under discussion will cover the approaches being used to address the current poaching crisis including improvements to law enforcement and the role of the criminal justice system; ways to reduce demand for illegal wildlife products; and how to support the development of sustainable alternative livelihoods to wildlife crime.

“Ending ivory trade in Thailand 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,” said Dr Naomi Doak, Co-ordinator of TRAFFIC’s Greater Mekong Programme.

While elephants are revered in Thailand, and an integral part of Thai beliefs and culture, the country has the world’s largest unregulated ivory market, and is consistently highlighted as one of the three most problematic countries worldwide in the illegal ivory trade. In 2013 Thailand committed to ban the ivory trade.

“Thailand’s presence at the London Conference is an opportunity to reinforce the commitment made by the Thai Government in March 2013 to end ivory trade and to share how they will implement this ban. Time is running out for the world’s elephants and action is needed now, not only from the Thai government but from all the governments whose countries are impacted by the illegal trade in ivory,” said Petch Manopawitr Conservation Program Manager, WWF-Thailand.

As a part of the WWF and TRAFFIC’s global illegal wildlife trade campaign, Buddhist leaders in Thailand have also taken a stand, preaching to fellow Buddhist followers about the spiritual implications of using ivory products. “We must make the country free of the ivory trade and must no longer allow Thailand to be a transit point and market for the trade. I beg the Buddhists, who know very well that killing is a sin, to stop using and buying all items made from ivory, including Buddha statues and other sacred ivory pieces. The major source of this ivory is from elephants that were brutally killed in Africa and not of elephants that died naturally,” said Phra Pisal Visalo, Wat Pa Sukato Forest Monastery, Chaiyapum.

The London Conference takes place on 12th and 13th February and is hosted by the UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague. His Royal Highness Prince Charles, a member of the UK Royal family will also be attending.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact:

Panjit Tansom, Program Officer, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia, Tel: +662 6198534 Ext. 106

Rabia Mushtaq, Communications Officer, WWF-Thailand, Tel: +662 6198534 Ext. 114

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.

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While elephants are revered in Thailand, and an integral part of Thai beliefs and culture, the country has the world’s largest unregulated ivory market.
© © WWF-Thailand / Wayuphong Jitvijak Enlarge

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