Thai police stamp out illegal elephant rings

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elephantWhere only 2,000 elephants exist in the wild, elephants have become a national symbol in Thailand, as well as being victim of a number of illegal trafficking rings.

On August 20 and 21, Thai police had seized a total of 16 illegally registered elephants in simultaneous raids on popular tourist destinations in the east province of Trat, and the southern provinces of Ko Chang, Phuket, Krabi and Phang Nga.

The Royal Thai Police, Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Division, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation and the Department of Livestock jointly managed the collaborative effort.

The relocation and care for the animals is being determined on a case-by-case basis, with each elephant and its location being factored into consideration. In the coming months, police expect more unregistered elephants will be removed from camps in four other provinces.

Police suspect that the elephants were removed from the wild in either Myanmar or elsewhere, and trafficked into Thailand where they were trained, transferred to camps, and then registered at a later date using fraudulent certificates. Thailand and Myanmar are both part of the Convention of International Trades of Endangered Species (CITES), which forbids any cross border trade in elephants.

In their initial investigations, police uncovered nine suspect elephant identification certificates in camps in Phang Nga and Phuket. Upon further investigation, 69 of these illegal certifications were discovered in the homes of two men in Chaiyaphum district. Police have ordered a number of arrest warrants for each of these men.

Last year, Thai authorities conducted several raids on elephant camps and seized around 25 animals.

More than 4,000 domesticated elephants in camps and zoos all around Thailand perform for the amusement of tourists by various acts including tightrope walking, playing football, and performing in painting contests.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

Where only 2,000 elephants exist in the wild, elephants have become a national symbol in Thailand, as well as being victim of a number of illegal trafficking rings.

Reading Time: 1 minute

elephantWhere only 2,000 elephants exist in the wild, elephants have become a national symbol in Thailand, as well as being victim of a number of illegal trafficking rings.

On August 20 and 21, Thai police had seized a total of 16 illegally registered elephants in simultaneous raids on popular tourist destinations in the east province of Trat, and the southern provinces of Ko Chang, Phuket, Krabi and Phang Nga.

The Royal Thai Police, Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Division, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation and the Department of Livestock jointly managed the collaborative effort.

The relocation and care for the animals is being determined on a case-by-case basis, with each elephant and its location being factored into consideration. In the coming months, police expect more unregistered elephants will be removed from camps in four other provinces.

Police suspect that the elephants were removed from the wild in either Myanmar or elsewhere, and trafficked into Thailand where they were trained, transferred to camps, and then registered at a later date using fraudulent certificates. Thailand and Myanmar are both part of the Convention of International Trades of Endangered Species (CITES), which forbids any cross border trade in elephants.

In their initial investigations, police uncovered nine suspect elephant identification certificates in camps in Phang Nga and Phuket. Upon further investigation, 69 of these illegal certifications were discovered in the homes of two men in Chaiyaphum district. Police have ordered a number of arrest warrants for each of these men.

Last year, Thai authorities conducted several raids on elephant camps and seized around 25 animals.

More than 4,000 domesticated elephants in camps and zoos all around Thailand perform for the amusement of tourists by various acts including tightrope walking, playing football, and performing in painting contests.

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