MNRE speeds up wild elephant zoning to avoid CITES ban

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BANGKOK, 16 March 2015 – Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, General Dapong Rattanasuwan has assigned the Forest Industry Organization (FIO) and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) to speed up a survey of wild elephant population nationwide in order to bring the data for use in the zoning of elephant habitats, said Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Suphot Tovichakchaikul.

“In some areas of the forest, wild elephant population exceeds foods and water supply, especially in the dry season when they need to come out of the forest to forage for more food in community zones,” Mr. Supot revealed, adding that the survey will help authorities evaluate whether each of the existing habitats has enough foods and water for all elephants.

He insisted that a transfer of wild elephants from highly populated areas to new habitats will be the last measure for reducing concentration of elephant population as it is difficult to do and needs information in great detail.

The elephant population zoning is part of the National Master Plan on Solutions to elephant-related problems. It is scheduled to be completed by March before being reported to CITES, hoping to save Thailand from an economic sanction by CITES.

Although the elephant population in Thailand has increased, the mammals are still facing a high risk of extinction due to the continuous forest invasion for foods and lands and elephant hunting for ivories.