Department logs 180 tonnes of declared elephant ivory
More than 38,000 ivory collectors have declared about 180 tonnes of ivory objects to authorities nationwide, the Department of National Parks and Wildlife and Plant Conservation said yesterday.
Department director-general Nipon Chotiban said the declarations were made between Jan 22 and Tuesday, the deadline for declaring the items.
He said the vast majority of declarations were made by home owners, entrepreneurs, and representatives of temples, associations and foundations.
The declared items weighing about 180 tonnes included 140 tonnes of complete tusks, 30 tonnes of ivory products such as rings, necklaces, knives and buckles and 10 tonnes of tusk pieces.
Those caught with undeclared ivory can expect to face a fine of up to three million baht while ivory shop owners who did not report their items before the deadline will face a fine of up to six million baht or three years in prison, or both.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Dapong Rattanasuwan will set up a special unit to burn ivory items handed in by some ivory collectors, Mr Nipon said.
The department has been enforcing the new elephant ivory law since Jan 22 this year as part of an action plan to crack down on the transnational trade in illegal ivory, particularly from Africa.
The action plan was required by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) and submitted to the global regulator for consideration.
The Cites threatened to impose an international wildlife trade ban on Thailand, a member of Cites, if it failed to rein in the illegal ivory trade. It said Thailand is a major hub of the African ivory trade in Southeast Asia.