The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation is drafting a law change to ban the domestic ivory trade in an attempt to reduce international pressure over the illegal ivory trade in the country.
Deputy chief Theerapat Prayulasidhi said the department is proposing to amend the 1992 Preserve and Protect Wildlife Animal Act to ban the domestic trade of elephant tusks.
He admitted the section regarding the ivory trade is sensitive so the department has to listen to the views of all stakeholders.
Initially, the department would focus on controlling ivory stocks.
Under the current law, the department has the authority to examine stocks of ivory held by private operators. The law change would not allow new ivory or ivory products to be added to their stocks.
"We will make regulations tougher and tougher until there is no longer ivory trade in the country," he said.
National parks officials will check stocks at more than 200 ivory handicraft shops in the northern provinces to make sure they are trading legally.
Under the change, domesticated elephants will come under the care of the act, instead of the Animal Vehicle Act as they are currently.
The changes come after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra pledged to end the ivory trade during the the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) meeting in Bangkok early this year.
The department expressed confidence the new law will improve management and control of domesticated elephants.
The international community has criticised Thailand as a hub for the African ivory trade. Over 10,000kg of confiscated ivory is being held by the department.
About the author
- Writer: Apinya Wipatayotin