An update to What Can We Do for Elephants?
The CITES conference opened in Bangkok on March 3 with a pledge by Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to end Thailand’s domestic ivory trade. Could this be a small victory for elephants? Maybe. This landmark announcement is in response to the 500,000+ elephant advocates who signed the WWF petition, which was presented to the Prime Minister with a personal appeal from Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio.
This is a complex issue for Thailand. Elephants are highly revered in Thai culture and are important to the country’s history, economy and environment. But its long-standing domestic ivory trade is meant only for the buying and selling of ivory from domestic Thai elephants. Many believe that this domestic legal trade has been a convenient loophole that has allowed the illegal ivory from Africa to be smuggled through Thailand en route to China, and into the ivory market within Thailand too. There are a myriad of reasons why an amendment to this Thai law might curtail the smuggling, but it may also be missing the point. Will it stop the slaughter of thousands of elephants for their tusks?
China’s growing demand for ivory shows no sign of letting up. Decisions made over the next two weeks in Bangkok will determine the future fate of elephants. Changing the Thai law may be a small victory for elephants, but will it win the war? Our film Elephants Never Forget is the story about this fragile relationship between elephants and us. Please take a moment to visit our Indiegogo campaign to learn more about how you can help us complete this film.
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