Thursday 3 July 2014

Thailand Don't Give a Damn about Wildlife

Thailand has been implicated in driving the endangered African elephant towards extinction by abjectly and callously failing to clamp down on illegal ivory sales.  The information comes from a report based upon monitoring by international wildlife specialists.

Research by Traffic, a conservation group, informs us that the number of carved ivory products on sale in Bangkok has almost tripled in the past 18 months.  This has happened despite promises by Thailand's former Prime Minister.  He said that the country would ban the ivory trade.  More hollow words from allegedly corrupt and irresponsible politicians.

Bangkok in Thailand is now confirmed as the capital of the Asian ivory trade and this despicable trade is driven by demand from China.  China has a lot of explaining to do because not only do they drive the trade in illegal ivory they also drive the trade in illegal tiger body parts and there is very little difference between the two because the outcome is the gradual extinction of wildlife species and in this case they are iconic species which the world cannot afford to lose in the wild.

A spokesman for Traffic says that Thailand's efforts to regulate local ivory markets have failed.  What efforts?  I don't think they are making efforts.  It seems to me that they enjoy the income that the business brings to the country.

The ivory trade in Thailand is out of control (or in control by politicians due to corruption?).  In Thailand the number of carved ivory products found for sale rose from 5,865 to 14,512 between January 2013 and May 2014.  The number of businesses selling ivory products rose from 61 to 105.

This shocking information arrives just before next weekend's meeting of CITES in Geneva.  This organisation should actually be working but it is manifestly failing across-the-board as far as I can see.

Apparently, Thailand is allowed to use the ivory from their domesticated elephants to make ivory trinkets but the maximum that the tasks from domesticated elephants in Thailand can produce in terms of ivory is 650 kg, whereas illegally poached and smuggled African ivory in Thailand over the past 6 years weighs in at 13 tonnes.

What can be conclude?  In my humble opinion there is no prospect of anything changing in Thailand due to inherent corruption and apathy about wildlife.  As I stated in the title, the people as expressed through their government (elected but a fragile democracy) don't give a dam about wildlife and would rather make money out of it.  Be prepared for the extinction of the African elephant in the wild in Africa.

Neighbouring Burma is a major player in tiger body part smuggling.

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