Commend Prime Minister for Promising to Ban Thailand’s Ivory Trade

Culled Elephant Ivory, South Africa

Target: Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra

Goal: Commend Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for promising to ban the ivory trade in Thailand.

The legal ivory trade in Thailand may potentially come to an end in the near future. In a speech given at the Convention on the International in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES)—attended by representatives from 178 countries—Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra promised to work with government officials to ban the trade. As the first public pledge to end Thailand’s ivory trade, Yingluck’s promise presents a chance for conservationists to reclaim ground in the race to save the world’s elephants.

Under current Thai law, anyone can sell and purchase ivory, but it has to be of domestic origin. Nevertheless, the policy has failed to prevent the illegal importation of ivory from Africa. Thailand’s black market has fueled demand for African ivory. According to the BBC, an estimated “ 50 [to] 100 African elephants are killed every day for their ivory.” Similarly, poaching throughout Africa has reached alarming levels. In the last fourteen months, poachers have killed nearly 32,000 elephants. The World Wildlife Fund reports there is “a global poaching crisis that is leading to the slaughter of tens of thousands of elephants each year and fueling a global criminal trade in animal parts.” Prime Minister Yingluck’s proposed ban would help eliminate much of the demand for African ivory, in effect decreasing the amount of poaching needed to keep up with regional demand.

In her speech to the international community at CITES, Yingluck explained that her plan would first call for stronger local controls on the sale and purchase of domestic ivory. By registering domestic elephants and related ivory products, the Thailandese government could potentially stop the flow of illegal ivory from entering the country. After strangling the trade, the next logical step, Yingluck argued, would be an all-out ban on all ivory sales or purchases.

Although the enforcement of such a ban would prove cumbersome, Yingluck’s promise to the international community has brought a glimmer of hope to those who are truly concerned with the world’s dwindling elephant population. Commend Thailand’s Prime Minister for her commitment to end her country’s ivory trade.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra,

Thank you for promising to end Thailand’s ivory trade. Such a ban would prove immeasurably helpful in preserving and protecting Africa and Asia’s dwindling elephant population. Similarly, criminalizing the ivory trade will help curb and eliminate the demand for poaching throughout these regions.

Although I commend your commitment to ending wildlife trafficking, it would also be of utmost importance to establish a timetable for the ban. Such a plan would help make the ban more manageable for customs’ officials and local bureaucracies, while also reassuring conservation and environmental groups that Thailand is firmly committed to the ban.

Thank you for promising to end the ivory trade in Thailand, but please establish a timetable for the effective ban.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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