Target: Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand
Goal: Stop traffickers from bringing captive non-native apes into Thailand.
A loophole in Thailand’s animal protection law allows traffickers to smuggle non-native apes into the country without fear of punishment. Thailand’s current wildlife protection act—the Wild Animal Preservation and Protection Act, B. E. 2535—does not protect six species of great apes and 11 non-native types of gibbons. All of these apes are supposed to be protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES), of which Thailand is a member.
Under Thailand’s animal protection law, traffickers do not have to show evidence of how they got their non-native apes, allowing them to illegally import animals with ease. Before any action can be taken, the state of Thailand must prove that the animals were illegally imported, which can be difficult to do. For traffickers, Thailand is a well-known safe haven for animals stolen from their natural habitats.
A report done by TRAFFIC, a wildlife monitoring network, suggests that the loophole is being exploited by traffickers. TRAFFIC found 51 orangutans in 57 facilities throughout Thailand. However, CITES’ database of legally imported animals says that just five orangutans have been imported into Thailand since 1975. CITES’ database also says that no Western gorillas have been imported to Thailand. But TRAFFIC found a Western gorilla in Thailand, showing that it most likely had been taken into captivity illegally.
Thailand’s government must close the loophole that allows traffickers to easily smuggle non-native apes into Thailand, and traffickers in Thailand must be punished under the full extent of the law. Sign this petition and tell Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha that you want non-native apes to be given the same protection as native species.
Dear Mr. Chan-o-cha,
A loophole in Thailand’s wild animal protection act allows traffickers to easily smuggle non-native apes into the country. This loophole does not provide protection for six species of great apes and 11 species of gibbons, including orangutans, gorillas, and chimpanzees. Many smugglers exploit this loophole, and they consider Thailand a safe haven for their stolen apes.
There has been evidence that suggests this loophole is often exploited by traffickers. Fifty-one orangutans were found in Thailand that were not in CITES’ database of legally imported apes. There was also an unaccounted for Western gorilla and 14 crested gibbons found in facilities throughout Thailand.
I urge you to offer protection for non-native apes under the Wild Animal Preservation and Protection Act, B. E 2535. To stop animal traffickers from using Thailand as a safe haven for captured apes, please close the loopholes in Thailand’s wild animal protection law.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Rennett Stowe