WWF urge Thai government to ban all ivory trade in the country
Bangkok, November 18, 2012 : President Obama yesterday acknowledged the progress Thailand has made in addressing illegal wildlife trade, however there is no time for complacency. Tens of thousands of Africa's elephants are being slaughtered each year to supply the rising demand for ivory in Asia. Foreign militias are posed again to enter Cameroon where they killed over 300 elephants earlier this year. Thailand remains the largest unregulated ivory market in the world and therefore has a responsibility to address illicit wildlife trafficking, which is a global organized crime. WWF is pleased that Thailand has committed to addressing trans-national crimes and we urge Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to take the additional necessary step of banning all ivory trade in Thailand.
Poaching for international trade has escalated dramatically in recent years and is now the greatest threat to many of WWF’s and TRAFFIC’s flagship species, jeopardising decades of conservation investment and threatening survival of some of our flagship species. Rhino poaching in South Africa increased by more than 3,000% between 2007 and 2011, while tens of thousands of elephants are killed each year for their ivory, and there are as few as 3,200 tigers left in the wild. Illegal trade is one of the greatest factors in the continued decline of these species.
The current demand for endangered species products in Asia is unprecedented and largely driven by demand for medicinal products, such as rhino horn and tiger parts, or as a demonstration of economic and social status, through products like ivory and rhino horn carvings or tiger bone wine. Growing wealth in Asia has resulted in an increase in the number of consumers with the financial means to purchase such products.
Despite its severity, illegal wildlife trade is not accorded the priority it deserves. In many jurisdictions offenders are secure in the belief that they can operate with near impunity, or if caught, will face derisory penalties. In short, the illegal wildlife trade is a low risk, high profit business.
The global Illegal Wildlife Trade Campaign is a conservation advocacy campaign with the goal of spurring governments and international institutions to treat illegal wildlife trade as a serious crime.