The Illegal Wildlife Trade project | WWF

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The Illegal Wildlife Trade project

© WWF / James Morgan

WHY DOES IT MATTER

The world is dealing with an unprecedented spike in illegal wildlife trade, threatening to overturn decades of conservation gains. Ivory estimated to weigh more than 23 metric tons—a figure that represents 2,500 elephants—was seized in the 13 largest seizures of illegal ivory in 2011. Poaching threatens the last of our wild tigers that number around 3,890.

WHAT IS THE ISSUE

Today, the worlds elephants are facing a poaching crisis. Around 30,000 African elephants are killed every year for their tusks  a rate outpacing their population growth. These majestic animals are killed so their ivory can be made into everything from decorative items to trinkets and later smuggled to supply an insatiable demand for ivory, primarily in Asia, including Thailand.

While elephants are revered in Thailand as an integral part of Thai beliefs and culture, the country had one of the worlds second largest unregulated ivory markets. Some ivory for sale in Thailands markets can still be traced directly back to herds of African elephants that were slaughtered and subsequently smuggled into the country by organized crime syndicates.

WHAT ARE WE DOING

Thailand, Myanmar and the Lao PDR are important transit points for endangered wildlife and wildlife products trafficked from other countries in Asia as well as Africa. Therefore, the goal of this initiative is to reduce trafficking of wildlife within the Golden triangle, in the key target locations. The project focuses on enhancing collaboration between relevant agencies at the provincial level , strengthening law enforcement and improving the ability to prosecute, investigate and prevent illegal wildlife trafficking in the Golden Triangle.

HOW DO WE DO THIS

WWF stands ready to support the Thai government’s effort to prove the effectiveness of its implementation and law enforcement in curbing illegal ivory. However, if the latest control mechanism fails to prevent laundering of illegal ivory, moratorium of domestic ivory market will be advocated. WWF will keep fighting to wipe out illegal ivory trade and the demand for ivory for the future of wild elephants.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO SAVE ELEPHANTS?

Don’t buy ivory: When people no longer purchase ivory, demand for the product will plummet, and poachers will lose their incentive to kill elephants for their ivory. Spread the Word: Reach out to your friends and family and explain to them why they should never buy ivory. Remember: behind a piece of ivory could be a dead elephant.
Report Crime: If you witness any wildlife crime that you would like to report, urgently, call the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation’s hotline 1362.
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