Thailand A Hub For Growing Illegal Ivory Trade
A report on Thailand’s illegal ivory market documents more than 26,000 ivory products for sale in local markets, in addition to the growing number of retail outlets offering these products in 2008. Overall, however, fewer worked ivory products were on sale in 2008 compared with 2001. Insufficient laws and legal enforcement continue to make Thailand the largest illegal ivory market in Asia.
Thailand is one of the top five nations involved in the illegal trade of ivory products. Bangkok accounts for more than 70% of the retail outlets in Thailand currently offering ivory items for sale. Much of the ivory sold in Thailand is illegally imported from Africa.
This study also addresses instances of traders buying wild-caught elephant calves for use in Bangkok as beggars or for sale in elephant camps and entertainment parks. Hundreds of elephants are also known to be illegally imported from Myanmar to be sold to elephant trekking companies for tourist purposes in Thailand. It is estimated that more than 25% of all live elephant exports from Thailand between 1980 and 2005 were possibly illegal due to incomplete or inaccurate documentation.