Statement of the World Wide Fund for Nature, Thailand Office On the wildlife poaching incidentStatement of the World Wide Fund for Nature, Thailand Office
On the wildlife poaching incident in the Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary on 4th February 2018
The case was about the arrest of Mr. Premchai Karnasuta, President of Italian-Thai Development Public Company Limited, and his followers. There were reports of several legal offenses, for example, camping overnight in the prohibited area of Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary and the discovery of several protected wildlife species, including leopards. Leopards are protected species under the CITES Convention, meaning they are strictly forbidden to be traded because they are close to extinction. They are also on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species, threatened by habitat loss, fragmentation a, d poaching.
In addition to the wildlife, authorities recovered rifles, shotguns and several bullets.
Western Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary is a part of the Western Forest Complex and it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991. It is considered very important both nationally and internationally for biodiversity conservation. In addition, as a "wildlife sanctuary" in Thailand, hunting is prohibited and also causes significant impact on the conservation of this World Heritage Site.
This case is extremely depressing and discouraging to those who are interested in wildlife conservation. WWF-Thailand condemns the reported actions of Mr. Premchai Karnasuta and his followers and we hope that the relevant authorities will conduct a thorough investigation and give the strongest penalties allowable by law to any of the suspects who are found guilty. This will also help boost the morale, encourage, and protect the local authorities, rangers, conservation organizations and agencies who are dedicated to wildlife conservation in Thailand.
WWF-Thailand is confident that the current Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act B.E.2535 (1992) enforced nowadays is sacred and deserves to be respected and conformed to by all Thai people. However, as the Act currently has low penalties, the government should give priority to strengthening the penalties in the Act in order to increase enforcement as soon as possible.
This will be an important approach to prove to other countries that Thailand is serious about conserving wildlife and natural resources.
World Wide Fund for Nature, Thailand Office
11th February 2018