BANGKOK, March 3 – Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Saturday presided over the 16th Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) meeting in Bangkok, vowing to protect wildlife and fight illicit global trafficking in ivory.
“I believe that Thailand will be a strong ally to fight illicit global trafficking in ivory,” she told delegates before striking a gong to officially open the CITES summit.
This is the second time Thailand is holding such meeting, reflecting the importance the country gives to the meeting itself, to participating in wildlife conservation, as well as promoting collaboration between Thailand and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc, the premier said.
Thailand created a 2005-2014 national master plan on wildlife protection with a clear objective for more effectively dealing with the issue.
Ms Yingluck noted Thailand has created a suppression network for illegal wildlife and plant smuggling crossing its borders, while hoping the fight against such smuggling will become part of shared ASEAN strategies.
Concerning the ivory trade, the Thai premier said the government has measures to deal with the trade –provision of more intelligence reports and collaboration with customs in other countries to help curb the illegal African ivory trade and amending national laws aiming to stop the trade in ivory products.
“No one cares more about elephants than the Thai people. I believe that Thailand will be a strong ally to fight illicit global trafficking in ivory”, Ms Yingluck told delegates before striking a gong to officially open the CITES meeting.
CITES Secretary-General John Scanlon told delegates that figures for the killing of African rhinos and elephants were “the worst we’ve seen in decades”.
“These trends put at risk the good conservation gains of the past decades and could threaten the very survival of the species themselves,” he said.
The criminals, he said, must be stopped.