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The Thai government has just announced that it will allow for the trade of elephants to other countries, according to Lek Chailert, Founder of the Save Elephant Foundation.
According to Chailert, the ruling will also include the shipping of elephant body parts such as ivory, with permission granted from June 23 this year.
She described the move as a ‘grave tragedy’, saying it puts the ‘well-being of both wild and captive elephants at risk’.
According to local reporting, Thailand’s National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department (DNP) believes the new regulation will be strict enough to prevent potential abuse by wildlife traffickers.
“Elephants and elephant-related products can only be exported for research, diplomatic purposes or for exchange between academic institutes and museums,” said Adul Chotinisakorn, Director-General of the Foreign Trade Department.
“We have carefully drafted this regulation in close consultation with related agencies and can ensure that exported Thai elephants will be well taken care of by experts in a good environment when they are overseas.
“We are aware that sending Thai elephants or elephant products to other countries is a very sensitive issue, so we will ensure that decisions on this matter will be carefully considered with national interest being the top priority.”
But Chailert is calling on people to take action against the decision, which she says puts the animals at risk. “I am asking all those around the world who love the Giant, to please stand with me by writing to the Thai consulate in your country, and to the link below, asking the government to revisit this decision, with advice from those who work for conservation,” she said on social media.
“This myopic vision is not tenable. Help me to fight for the rights of the Thai elephant. We must stop the traffic. In Thailand there are ~4000 captive working elephants, and only 1000+ remain in the Wild. In 1986 the Asian elephant became an endangered species. The passage of time has done them no favors.
“Their risk of extinction is critical. Any decision made regarding their future ought to be considered with full public and scientific scrutiny. We must be vigilant on their behalf, until they remain safeguarded or until they are no more.”