WWF lauds Thai efforts against ivory trafficking

WWF lauds Thai efforts against ivory trafficking
Thai Customs officers arrange confiscated elephant tusks before a news conference at the customs department in Bangkok, Thailand, July 6, 2015.
PHOTO: Reuters

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has lauded Thailand's decision to crush two tonnes of confiscated ivory today as a strong message of the country's "zero tolerance for illegal ivory trafficking".

On August 21, Thai officials' rigorous audit process, assisted by conservation organisations including WWF-Thailand, was completed.

A total of 1,206 kilograms of ivory tusks and trinkets in the possession of the Customs Department were measured and cross-checked with existing records.

The same method was used to audit 950 kilograms of ivory held by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation and Freeland.

"The ivory destruction will send a strong, clear message that Thailand will have zero tolerance for consumers of illegal ivory and the traffickers who have long used Thailand as a gateway and marketplace," said WWF's Janpai Ongsiriwittaya, who participated in the audit.

"And it echoes the will of 1.3 million Thais who spoke up against illegal ivory trade as part of WWF's "Chor Chang Can Save Elephants" campaign earlier this year. Thailand's support of the independent audit process before crushing the ivory is a vital step in demonstrating its commitment to tackling the issue of illegal ivory in the country and stopping wildlife crime."

Earlier this year, the Thai government passed the Elephant Ivory Act requiring owners and traders to register their ivory, hence 220 tons of ivory was registered by over 44,000 private citizens.

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