Heat on Thailand as wildlife conference starts

Mar 02, 2013
People walk past ivory tusks displayed at an antique and ivory store in Bangkok on February 28, 2013. The race to protect the world's rhino, elephant and shark populations from the trade in animal body parts will be at the heart of key endangered species talks in Bangkok from March 3. Host nation Thailand is seen as a hub for traffickers of all endangered species.

Global conservationists will converge in Bangkok for the start of key endangered species talks on Sunday, as host Thailand faces pressure to curb rampant ivory smuggling through its territory.

The plight of elephants and —threatened by poaching networks driven by insatiable demand for and horn from Asian nations—are set to dominate the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which lasts until March 14.

Host nation Thailand, seen as a hub for traffickers of all endangered species, is facing particular pressure over its ivory market.

Activists say criminals exploit a legal trade in tusk to sell illicit stocks of African ivory and conservation groups the and TRAFFIC have called on the Thai government to ban all in the country.

"After years of failing to end this unfettered trade, Thailand should grab the spotlight and shut down these markets that are fuelling poaching of elephants in Africa," said Carlos Drews, Director of WWF's Global Species Programme.

Since coming into force in 1975, CITES has placed some 35,000 species of animal and plants under its protection, controlling and monitoring their international trade.

The 177 countries who have signed up to the convention—and must undertake measures to implement its decisions at home—will also consider growing calls for the greater regulation of the shark fin trade.

Similar proposals to protect a number of —whose fins are prized in Asia—have previously failed in the face of opposition from a group of Asian countries concerned about their fishing industries.

Humans kill about 100 million sharks each year, mostly for their fins, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and are warning that dozens of species are under threat.

"We are now the predators. Humans have mounted an unrelenting assault on sharks, and their numbers are crashing throughout the world's oceans," Elizabeth Wilson, manager of global shark conservation at Pew Charitable Trusts.

CITES, which on Sunday celebrates 40 years since its inception in 1973, is also looking to strengthen protection for multiple plant species, including Madagascar ebony and rosewood, from a host of countries.

Explore further: From dandruff to deep sea vents, an ecologically hyper-diverse fungus

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US backs adding teeth to global shark protection

Jan 25, 2013

The United States said Friday it would support proposals to curb the trade of five shark species and manta rays, whose numbers are declining because of demand for fins and gills.

UN rejects Tanzania request for one-off ivory sale

Mar 22, 2010

(AP) -- A proposal by Tanzania to weaken the 21-year ban on ivory sales was rejected by a U.N. conservation meeting over fears the African country has been failing to crack down on rising incidents of poaching.

Asia fuels record elephant, rhino killings: WWF

Jul 23, 2012

Releasing a report rating countries' efforts at stopping the trade in endangered species, WWF said elephant poaching was at crisis levels in central Africa while the survival of rhinos was under grave threat ...

Recommended for you

Speckled beetle key to saving crops in Ethiopia

13 hours ago

(Phys.org) —An invasive weed poses a serious and frightening threat to farming families in Ethiopia, but scientists from a Virginia Tech-led program have unleashed a new weapon in the fight against hunger: ...

New tool to assess noise impact on marine mammals

13 hours ago

A new desktop tool which will allow offshore renewable energy developers to assess the likely impacts of their projects on marine mammal populations has been developed by scientists at the University of St ...

Of bees, mites, and viruses

Aug 21, 2014

Honeybee colonies are dying at alarming rates worldwide. A variety of factors have been proposed to explain their decline, but the exact cause—and how bees can be saved—remains unclear. An article published on August ...

User comments : 0