BANGKOK, 28 September 2014 (NNT) — Mr. Nipon Chotiban, the Director General of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP), reports that he has strengthened his anti-Illegal Ivory Trade Working Group, which is under the DNP and the Protected Areas Regional Office 9 (Ubon Rachathani) to ensure only legal ivory trade under the law, took place among shops and dealers at the Elephant Center in Surin on September 27th and 28th. Recently, Thailand has been targeted as a country with a very high volume of illegal ivory trade, and insufficient ivory trade control according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). If Thailand can’t solve this problem by March 2015, specific areas of its international trade will be suspended; for example, orchids, cacti, palms, and products from snake and crocodile skin will be banned from sale. This will result in a loss of around 37 billion baht in Thai exports and imports, and affect more than 39,000 workers for a period of three to five years. The effect on the country’s image would also be hugely negative.
Director General Nipon also emphasized the need to fully inform Thai ivory dealers of laws governing the legal ivory trade, the controls on ivory, and efforts to eliminate all illegal trade. Thailand has to tackle this issue promptly so as not to be suspended by CITES, which would affect the nation’s economy immensely.