Banning the Ivory Trade in Thailand [ACT – SIGN THE PETITION!]

The point of this post is to highlight WWF’s ongoing petition to the Prime Minister to ban all ivory trade in the country; if your attention span is short, but you like elephants, just skip all below and go to the petition here.

WWF Ivory Trade Ban Petition

One of my favorite things about being in this line of work is the global network of conservation nerds who I can call colleagues and friends – fascinating, dedicated, brilliant individuals, scattered around the world in capital cities and remote field sites.  It’s always such a pleasure to meet up with them while I’m on my various journeys.

Last month in Bangkok, I had a chance to catch up with my friend and fellow conservation researcher, Petch – now the Conservation Program manager for WWF Thailand.  Our conversation wound around several intriguing topics, including: careers in conservation; shark fisheries in the Andaman Sea; the “gold rush” among several sectors (including conservation groups) to get into Burma; the state of conservation in Thailand.

That last topic brought us to the issue of elephants and the ivory trade.  There is a loophole of sorts in Thai regulations on ivory – the sale of ivory from domesticated elephants is legal.  This provides an opportunity for traders of ivory from African elephants to “launder” their illegal products.

The slaughter of elephants for the ivory trade is something that’s been in the news for decades, and some might be surprised that it remains such a serious problem.  Recent news stories (e.g., here and here) demonstrate that this (sickening) threat remains very significant.

WWF is working to establish a ban on all ivory trade in Thailand, to close this loophole, via a petition to the Thai Prime Minister prior to the March 3-14 CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) meeting in Bangkok.  I signed the petition, and so should you (you’ll be in good company – Leo DiCaprio is supporting and publicizing this campaign).  In the words of their website: Sign the petition and tell the Thai Prime Minister to ban ivory trade and save Africa’s elephants.  

The goal: 1,000,000 signatures.  They’re just above halfway there – please spread the word and help in this effort!  Thanks, elephant-loving friends.  In closing (from the campaign website):

“Together we can put a stop to the senseless killing of elephants for their ivory. Your signature will be sent to the Thai prime minister prior to a meeting in Thailand where governments from around the world will gather to discuss the future of many endangered species. Please spread the word and enlist others to join you in signing this petition: tell the world to kill the trade!”

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