The report also raises concerns that legal provisions governing trade in domesticated elephants are providing cover for illegal trade in wild-caught, highly-endangered Asian elephants from both Thailand and neighbouring Myanmar.
TRAFFIC's survey documented over 26,000 worked ivory products for sale in local markets, with many more retail outlets dealing in ivory products than were observed during market surveys carried out in 2001.
Market surveys found 50 more retail outlets offering ivory items in Bangkok and Chiang Mai in 2008 than the previous year. However, overall there was less worked ivory openly on sale than in 2001.
"Thailand has consistently been identified as one of the world's top five countries most heavily implicated in the illicit ivory trade, but shows little sign of addressing outstanding issues," said Tom Milliken, of TRAFFIC, which oversees a global monitoring programme, the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS), for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
"Thailand needs to reassess its policy for controlling its local ivory markets as currently it is not implementing international requirements to the ongoing detriment of both African and Asian Elephant populations," said Milliken.
"Since 2004, the Thai government has only reported two ivory seizure cases totaling 1.2 tonnes of raw ivory."
Thailand's capital, Bangkok, a major tourist destination, has emerged as the main hub for illegal ivory activities, accounting for over 70 percent of the retail outlets in Thailand offering ivory items for sale.
The report includes new information on ivory workshops—eight in Uthai Thani, one each in Chai Nat and Payuha Kiri, and three in Bangkok—between them employing dozens of carvers in the production of ivory jewelry, belt buckles and knife-handles. Much of the ivory being worked is illegally imported from Africa.
Some workshop owners boasted close ties with European knife makers, while others reported sending ivory, steel and silver items to the US for sale in gun shops.
"The Thai Government needs to crack down on this serious illegal activity and stop allowing people to abuse the law," said Dr Colman O'Criodain, WWF International's analyst on wildlife trade issues.
"A good first step would be to put in place a comprehensive registration system for all ivory in trade and for live elephants".
The study also uncovered reports of traders buying wild-caught elephant calves for use in Bangkok as "beggars" on the streets in major tourist centres, or selling them to elephant camps and entertainment parks.
Hundreds of live elephants are known to have been illegally imported from Myanmar in recent years, to be sold to elephant trekking companies catering to adventure tourism in Thailand. The capture of wild elephants has been banned in Thailand since the 1970s, but such trade usually goes undetected because domesticated elephants do not have to be registered legally until they are eight years of age.
The study also found that over a quarter of all live elephant exports from Thailand between 1980 and 2005 could have been illegal due to incomplete and inaccurate declarations made on the documentation required under CITES.
"There must be greater scrutiny of the live elephant trade if enforcement efforts are to have any impact at all," said Chris R. Shepherd, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia's Acting Director.
"Thailand and Myanmar should work together, and with urgency, to address cross-border trade problems," he added.
Further information:Elizabeth John, Senior Communications Officer, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia
Notes to editors:
This press release and associated material can be found on www.panda.org and on www.traffic.org
1. The Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) is one of the two formal monitoring systems for elephants under CITES, and holds more than 13,500 records of elephant product seizures that have occurred anywhere in the world since 1989. In the last analysis of the ETIS data, Thailand ranked with China, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Nigeria as the five nations most heavily implicated in the illicit trade in ivory globally.
2. The internal trade in Thai and foreign wild elephants and their products is illegal according to the Wild Animal Reservation and Protection Act (WARPA) of 1992. Wild elephants are classified as protected animals. WARPA, along with the Wild Elephant Protection Act of 1921, prohibit the killing of wild elephants or their capture without official permission from the government. Domestic Thai elephants, however, are subject to the archaic Draught Animal Act of 1939, which continues to allow trade in domesticated elephants as well as the possession and/or sale of ivory derived from such animals. These loopholes are routinely exploited to prevent meaningful law enforcement actions from transpiring within Thailand.
TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, works to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature. TRAFFIC is a joint programme of IUCN and WWF.
WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with almost 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. WWF– World Wide Fund For Nature (also known as World Wildlife Fund)
www.panda.org/media for latest news and media resources
Sarah Janicke | EurekAlert!
Further reports about: > Bird Communication > CITES > Conservation > ETIS > Elephant Plattform > Elephant Trade Information System > Elephant-size > Myanmar > Protection > Traffic > WARPA > WWF > domesticated elephants > ivory products > natural resource > species > wildlife trade monitoring network
Upcycling 'fast fashion' to reduce waste and pollution
03.04.2017 | American Chemical Society
Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences