Thailand’s prime minister vows to end ivory trade

March 3, 2013 • World News

Thai activists hold signs against illegal wildlife trade during the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, in Bangkok Sunday, March. 3, 2013. How to slow the slaughter and curb the trade in “blood ivory” will be among the most critical issues up for debate at the 177-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, that gets under way Sunday in Bangkok. And the meeting’s host, Thailand, will be under particular pressure to take action.(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

BANGKOK (AP) — Facing the possibility of sanctions, Thailand’s prime minister vowed for the first time to work toward ending her country’s trade in ivory. But she gave no timeline for implementing a domestic ban, and conservationists warned that the unprecedented slaughter of elephants in Africa would continue until she does.

Thailand’s internal ivory trade is currently legal, but wildlife groups say smuggled African tusks are mixed in with native stocks and skyrocketing demand here is helping fuel the worst poaching crisis in sub-Saharan African in two decades.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra made the pledge during Sunday’s opening meeting of the 178-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, in Bangkok.

She said her government would tighten local controls on Thailand’s local tusk trade by systematically registering domestic elephants and ivory products. Then, “as a next step, we will work toward amending the national legislation with the goal of putting an end to (the) ivory trade and to be in line with international norms,” she said.

Yingluck gave no timeline, though, and Theerapat Prayurasiddhi, deputy Login to read more

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