Thailand Destroys 2 Tons of Ivory
Continuing the building momentum around fighting the illicit wildlife trade, the Royal Thai Government destroyed 2.1 tons of confiscated ivory on August 26.
This follows similar ivory destruction events that have taken place throughout 2015, including in Kenya, Ethiopia, the Republic of the Congo, the United Arab Emirates, China, the United States and Mozambique.
“Increasingly governments around the world are making the very public statement that there is no future to be had in the ivory trade,” said African Wildlife Foundation CEO Dr. Patrick Bergin. “By destroying ivory, the Thai government is sending a message that ivory is only valuable when attached to living elephants, rather than as jewelry, statuettes or other trinkets. We commend the Thai government for taking this strong stance against the illegal ivory trade.”
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Thailand has become one of the largest ivory markets in the world and organized criminal syndicates are reportedly involved in trafficking ivory between Africa and Thailand. The illegal ivory trade is estimated to result in the deaths of between 25,000 and 35,000 African elephants each year.
In addition to governmental efforts to shut down the global wildlife trafficking industry, AWF has implemented a number of initiatives to stop the killing, stop the trafficking and stop the demand associated with the illegal trade. These have included:
- Providing financial and technical support to partners in Africa to supplement anti-poaching efforts. Currently AWF support is enhancing protections of 32 populations of elephants, rhinos, large carnivores and great apes on the continent.
- Training and deploying detection dogs to key trafficking hubs in Africa. The first class of detection dogs and handlers graduated from AWF’s Conservation Canine Program last month. They will soon be deployed to trafficking hotspots in Mombasa, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
- Sensitizing the judiciary and criminal investigators in African countries on wildlife trafficking and the available laws to convict known traffickers. Thus far, these judicial workshops have been held throughout Kenya, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and in Kampala, Uganda. Plans are underway to hold similar sensitization trainings in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. All reports indicate these trainings have had a visible impact on the sentencing of convicted poachers and traffickers.
- Conducting a public awareness campaign in Asia and in Africa to educate the general public about wildlife trafficking. AWF and partners WildAid and Save The Elephants recently posted billboards in the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport that reminds locals and tourists not to purchase ivory in Thailand and attempt to take products out of the country. In Africa, Swahili-language billboards have been posted in Tanzania to urge citizens to protect their natural heritage against poaching.